The Elon Musk Controversy: A Retrospective


Elon Musk executes his plan to buy Twitter to remove bias and promote the right to free speech. But mass employee resignations in response to his demands left the platform fighting to survive

Elon Musk: founder of Tesla, SpaceX, and known internet troll. Typically seen on his twitter account making polarizing statements and playing devil’s advocate.

Many of his stunts, like building a tunnel under Las Vegas and selling “Boring Company” flamethrowers, were fun to watch from afar. But his purchase of Twitter left viewers in both the online world and the business world worried as to what Musk would do with the platform, and boy did his changes surprise in worse ways than originally thought.

Promptly after acquiring the platform, Musk forced a “Loyalty Oath” on all employees already at twitter pressuring them into agreeing to twelve hour days, and working through nights and weekends.

It’s been highlighted by some that this move was strategic by Musk to weed out employees who contributed to what he saw as bad for the platform, selective free speech and party-favoring tactics. But such a drastic move led a wave of resignation letters to flow in, lowering the company from around 7,500 employees to 3,750.

Important tasks on the platform like fixing bugs were neglected and questions arose as to whether or not the site was even stable. Much like how the catastrophe had occurred, Musk turned to drastic measures again for damage control, closing down all offices on November 14 and restricting all access.

As such a complicated site so present in the media, without regular checks and upkeep by employees twitter would fall to attackers and malfunctions, which began to happen. Users still active at that time dubbed this era “The Fall of Twitter” and #RIPTwitter and #TwitterDown were hashtags trending on the site. Many saw and still see this takeover as the end of the social media giant.

Peiter Zatko, The former head of security, filed a whistleblower complaint against twitter citing that fifty percent of the site’s data centers were running software completely out of date with security problems.

Most recently Musk has carelessly thrown documents revealing the Biden Administration’s conversations with Twitter out for the public to see. Although this move shed light on Twitter’s biases, in typical fashion the way in which Musk revealed this information was drastic and controversial.

Twitter’s new leadership aims to make the platform unbiased and a symbol of free speech but the changes made so far have only served to dishearten employees and create conflict in the public eye. Their goal is admirable, but all that is being done is more of the same and more of the bad.

Many have cited Musk’s actions as strategic moves that we don’t understand the purpose of yet. All of his past endeavors such as Tesla and SpaceX rose up in ways the public didn’t expect. But the fallout of this new leadership brings into question if that “under-dog” story will reappear in twitter’s case.