“We say Twitter is what’s happening and what people are talking about right now. Often, we [at] Twitter be What is happening and what people are talking about. That was certainly the case this week, Agrawal wrote in a company-wide email Thursday, inviting employees to the AMA. “After the board’s announcement, many of you had different kinds of questions About Elon Musk, I would like to welcome you to ask these questions to for him.”
Town halls where employees can ask direct, targeted questions to senior leadership is a long-standing tradition in Silicon Valley and is conducted regularly on Facebook, Google and Twitter. But hosting a board member in one is a rarity.
Twitter spokesperson Brenden Lee confirmed the AMA and declined to comment further. Musk did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“I look forward to working with the Parag & Twitter Board to make significant improvements to Twitter in the coming months,” Musk tweeted on Tuesday, responding to a public welcome from Agrawal.
Hours earlier, Musk had polled his 80 million Twitter followers on whether they would like to see an edit button — which would allow them to edit tweets after they’ve been posted — in a vague indication of a long-standing feature request from the platform’s powerful users. The company later confirmed that the button was indeed on.
The promotion of Musk – who is the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX – to the Twitter board after he quietly bought more than 9% of the company will push Twitter into more political and cultural wars raging across the United States.
Twitter, which is headquartered in liberal San Francisco and has more than 5,000 employees who can work remotely from anywhere, is known for its very open and liberal corporate culture. The recently departed CEO Jack Dorsey is a prominent supporter of Black Lives Matter. Twitter was the first company to take action against President Donald Trump over his tweets supporting Capitol rioters on January 6, as well as the first to allow employees to work permanently from home. Engineering teams have spent years building tools to combat spam, disinformation, and hate speech.
On the other hand, Musk has used his widely followed Twitter account to question the need to moderate content, promoting himself as a hero From freedom of speech, and as several employees noted this week in internal messaging – they seem to mock gender pronouns. He has also been known as a ruthless manager who will seek to fire people on the spot when they are not on the plane with his way of thinking.
“Quick question: If an employee tweets some of the things Elon writes, they are likely the subject of an HR investigation,” one employee noted on the company’s Slack channels. “Are board members bound by the same standard?”
Another post said employees were struggling to welcome a leader whose values seemed to conflict with the company.
That employee asked, “We know he’s done harm to workers, the transgender community, women, and others who have less influence in the world.” “How are we going to reconcile this decision with our values? Is innovation outperforming humanity?”
Another employee, who said he used to work for Tesla, said he “witnessed the terrible changes in the company culture that followed” after Musk took over as CEO. “I’m really worried now, because I’ve seen what he can do firsthand,” said the person.
Throughout the week, senior Twitter executives participated in Slack to remind workers that the company’s culture remained the same and that Musk would not be responsible for major decisions, noting that Agrawal was still a “tie-breaker.”
But for the person who initially designated himself as “passive“An investor—which means a shareholder who does not aim to influence or change control of the company—before joining the board of directors, it seemed like Musk was already playing a big role.
Concerns from Twitter employees about Musk’s potentially huge role have echoed previous protests in recent years at Facebook, with employees repeatedly raising questions about the influence of controversial right-leaning board member Peter Thiel.
Dorsey tweeted that Agrawal and Musk would be a “great team”. The invitation to the AMA, along with the CEO, also appears to suggest that Musk has been given more authority.
“A wide range of opinions and voices define our service,” Agrawal wrote in his email Thursday. “And that should be reflected and embraced internally as well.”
Fayez Seddiqi contributed to this report.