Elon Musk has pulled more than 50 Tesla employees into Twitter

Elon Musk’s Twitter profile page seen on an Apple iPhone.

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new Twitter Owner Elon Musk has drawn more than 50 of his loyalists Tesla The employees, mostly software engineers on the Autopilot team, will take over his Twitter, CNBC has learned.

Musk, the CEO of car maker Tesla and reusable rocket maker SpaceX, completed its $44 billion acquisition of Twitter on Oct. 28 and immediately made its mark. He immediately fired the company’s CEO, chief financial officer, policy and legal team leaders, and dissolved Twitter’s board of directors.

According to internal records seen by CNBC, employees from Musk’s other companies are now allowed to work at Twitter, including more than 50 people from Tesla, two from the Boring Company (which builds underground tunnels) and Neuralink (which develops a brain-computer interface).

Several of Musk’s friends, advisers and supporters are also in attendance, including his family office boss Jared Birchall, angel investor Jason Calacanis and PayPal’s founding chief operating officer and venture capitalist David Sachs. So are two people who share Musk’s last name, James and Andrew Musk, who worked at Palantir and Neuralink, respectively.

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Elon Musk specifically among the dozens who signed up from Tesla: Ashok Elluswamy, director of software development, Milan Kovac, director of Autopilot and TeslaBot engineering, Maha Virduhagiri, senior director of software engineering; Pete Scheutzow, a senior staff technical program manager, and Jake Nocon, part of Tesla’s surveillance unit, as a senior manager of defense intelligence.

Nocon worked earlier Uber and Nisos, a security firm with a multimillion-dollar contract with Tesla to detect insider threats and monitor critics of the company.

On Twitter, Musk counts on his lieutenants and loyalists to decide who and what to cut or keep on the social network.

He’s pushing them to learn everything he can about Twitter as quickly as possible, from source code to content moderation and data-privacy requirements, so he can redesign the platform, several Twitter employees told CNBC over the weekend.

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Musk has declared himself a free-speech absolutist, but he has to balance those wishes with laws and business realities. In an open letter to advertisers last week when he took over the company, he said: “Twitter clearly cannot become a free-for-all hell where anything can be said without consequence.”

It was not immediately clear how Tesla employees are expected to split their schedules between the automaker and Twitter.

Typically, when Tesla employees work for other Elon Musk businesses, typically SpaceX or the Boring Company, they may be paid by the other business as a consultant. Some of Musk’s employees have full-time roles in more than one of his businesses. For example, Charlie Kuehmann, vice president of Tesla Materials, is concurrently vice president of SpaceX.

In other cases, two Tesla employees told CNBC, the electric car maker pressures employees to help with projects at his other companies for no extra pay because it looks good to their careers or because the work is seen as helping a related party. transaction or project.

Tesla is facing serious scrutiny over technology built and maintained by its Autopilot team, such as its driver-assistance systems, Autopilot, FSD and FSD Beta.

The Securities and Exchange Commission, the Justice Department and the California Department of Motor Vehicles are all investigating whether Tesla or Musk violated laws and misled consumers about Tesla’s driver assistance systems. driving

Meanwhile, the Federal Vehicle Safety Authority, NHTSA, is investigating whether Tesla’s driver assistance systems may have contained defects that contributed to or caused the collisions. How Tesla marketed these systems on social media, including Twitter, is part of the scope of at least one NHTSA investigation.

Code reviews and 12-hour shifts

Several Twitter employees told CNBC over the weekend that Tesla employees now at Twitter are involved in the social network’s code review, although their skills working on Autopilot and other Tesla software and hardware are not directly aligned with the languages ​​and systems used. Building and maintaining social network. The employees asked not to be named because they are not authorized to speak to the press about internal matters and fear retaliation.

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For example, many engineers at car companies, even technology pioneer Tesla, lack experience designing and implementing search engines and platforms that are widely accessible to the public.

Twitter has multiple code bases with millions of lines of code, and countless 10- or 100-query-per-second (QPS) systems underneath. At Tesla, Python is the scripting language of choice, while programmers at Twitter have used Scala extensively.

Twitter has increased exposure to international regulations on hate speech and data privacy, for example, in particular the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation.

Twitter employees who were there before Musk took over said they were asked to show his teams all kinds of technical documentation, justify their work and their teamwork, and explain their value to the company. They said they were threatened with dismissal if they were not impressed.

Instead of being fired, employees said they were worried about being fired without reason or warning. Some are worried they won’t be able to take advantage of stock options that are due to vest in the first week of November, according to documents seen by CNBC.

Meanwhile, Twitter employees said they still haven’t received concrete plans from Musk and his team, and are largely in the dark about possible headcount cuts in their teams, budgets and long-term strategy.

However, some to-do lists have set deadlines that cannot be met.

One immediate project is to redesign the company’s subscription software, dubbed Twitter Blue, and the company’s verification system (sometimes called “blue checks” for the way they appear on the service). Employees say Musk wants to get the job done by the first week of November. The Verge previously reported that Musk wants to charge $20 per user per month, assign verification points only to accounts of users who are paying subscribers, and remove verification from accounts that don’t pay for Twitter Blue.

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Managers at Twitter have instructed some employees to work 12-hour shifts seven days a week to beat Musk’s aggressive deadlines, according to internal communications. Sprint orders came without any discussion about overtime or premium time or job security. Completing the task by the early November deadline is seen as a make-or-break issue for their careers at Twitter.

In a climate of fear and distrust, many Twitter employees have stopped communicating with each other on internal systems about workplace issues. What’s more, some Slack channels on Twitter have been largely muted, multiple employees told CNBC.

Meanwhile, Musk and his inner circle have been plumbing archived messages in systems, apparently looking to fire people and cut budgets or projects.

On Sunday night, CEO Elon Musk (whom he calls “Chief Tweet” but is officially the CEO and sole director) showed off his unfettered access to the company’s inside information. Posted a screenshot To his listed 112 million followers on Twitter.

The screenshot depicts comments made by Yoel Roth, Twitter’s head of security and integrity, in May 2022. At the time, Musk was trying to get out of an agreement to buy Twitter for $54.20 a share.

In court and in public, Musk has vociferously accused Twitter of falsifying metrics, particularly reducing the amount of spam, fake accounts and harmful bots on the platform.

In the internal message that Musk made public, Roth wrote disparagingly of a person involved in the campaign named Amir, and mentioned what Twitter would “literally do” if Amir continued to “BS” him or others about goals and key results. Elon accuses us.”

Musk Alleged in a tweet “Wachtell and the Twitter board deliberately withheld this evidence from the court.” He also appeared to threaten further legal action, saying, “Stay tuned, more to come…”

Representatives for Twitter, Tesla and the law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz have not yet responded to requests for comment.


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