Carina Johansen/Getty Images
- A former Twitter manager says the company’s plans “went to garbage” after Elon Musk bought it.
- Amir Shevat told the BBC he was worried about Twitter’s future. He was laid off in November.
- The number of ex-staff suing Twitter “goes up daily,” a lawyer fighting the company told the broadcaster.
A laid-off Twitter manager told the BBC that he’s “worried” about the company’s future under the ownership of Elon Musk.
“We wanted to make people’s lives more pleasant and more productive,” Amir Shevat told the broadcaster. “And all of that went to garbage when Elon bought the company.”
Twitter says that its mission is to “use the positive power of Twitter to strengthen our communities through our platform, people, and profits.” It says this includes defending civil liberties, tackling hate speech, and promoting equality.
Musk, who bought Twitter for $44 billion in late October, is under fire from its users, staff, advertisers, and tech analysts over his leadership of the company.
In his less than four months since taking control of Twitter, Musk has introduced sweeping changes to the platform. This includes revamping Twitter Blue, the site’s paid subscription service, and allowing controversial figures like conservative satire site The Babylon Bee and former president Donald Trump back onto the platform.
Advertisers have fled the site over concerns about content moderation, with some reports suggesting a rise in hate speech, and Musk has seemingly introduced and subsequently scrapped new policies on a whim.
Musk, for his part, has claimed that Twitter has added record numbers of daily active users since he took over.
In December, he said he would step down as CEO once he finds someone “foolish enough” to replace him after a poll on the site.
One of Musk’s first moves as CEO was to fire four of the company’s top execs. A week later, on November 4, he laid off around half of Twitter’s workforce. Musk said that he had “no choice” but to lay off thousands of workers, claiming that the company was losing more than $4 million a day. Since then, more staff have been fired or laid off or have chosen to quit.
Shevat was one of the employees laid off on November 4. The then-head of product for Twitter’s developer platform led a team of around 150 employees, the majority of whom were also laid off, he previously told Insider. Shevat said that his team realized they had been let go when they were unable to access their company accounts. Shevat himself found out he’d lost his job after being locked out of his Slack account and work emails on his phone.
Affected staff were sent an email saying that they were being laid off as part of a “workforce reduction to help improve the health of the company.”
Shevat told the BBC that Twitter should have laid off staff “in a legal way, empathetic way and a highly communicative way.”
“And in all of these Elon, in his leadership, failed,” he said. The way Musk had treated Twitter staff was “unjustifiable,” he added.
Shevat has entered an arbitration process against the company. Many Twitter employees signed arbitration agreements as part of their employment contracts, which said they would bring legal disputes against the company in arbitration rather than in court and included a class-action waiver.
Shevat’s attorney, Lisa Bloom, told the BBC that she was representing around 100 of Twitter’s laid-off workers in the US and that “the number goes up daily.” Shannon Liss-Riordan, a lawyer also representing laid-off Twitter workers, has been an outspoken critic of how Musk treated his staff and said in mid-January that she’s already filed 500 individual demands for arbitration on behalf of former workers.