Elon Musk has pulled more than 50 Tesla employees into Twitter

Elon Musk’s Twitter profile page is viewable on an Apple iPhone mobile phone.

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New Twitter Owner Elon Musk has pulled more than 50 of his trusts Tesla employees, mostly software engineers from the Autopilot team, into its Twitter takeover, CNBC has learned.

Musk, who is the CEO of the automaker Tesla and the maker of reusable rocket SpaceX, completed the acquisition of $ 44 billion on Twitter on October 28 and made a mark there immediately. He immediately fired the company’s CEO, chief financial officer, policy leaders and legal team, and has also dissolved Twitter’s board of directors.

According to internal records seen by CNBC, employees from other Musk companies are allowed to work on Twitter, including more than 50 from Tesla, two from the Boring Company (which building underground tunnels) and one from Neuralink (which develops brain. – computer interface).

Some of Musk’s friends, advisers and supporters, including the head of his family office Jared Birchall, angel investor Jason Calacanis, and PayPal chief operating officer and venture capitalist David Sacks, are also involved. So there are two people with Musk’s last name, James and Andrew Musk, who have worked at Palantir and Neuralink, respectively.

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Among the dozens that Elon Musk has specifically mentioned from Tesla are: director of software development Ashok Elluswamy, director of engineering of Autopilot and TeslaBot Milan Kovac, senior director of software engineering Maha Virduhagiri; Pete Scheutzow, senior manager of the technical staff program, and Jake Nocon, who is part of Tesla’s research unit, as senior manager of security information.

Nocon worked for him before Uber and Nisos, a security firm that had a multi-million dollar contract with Tesla to identify insider threats, and monitor the company’s critics.

At Twitter, Musk counts on his subordinates and loyalists to decide who and what should be cut or kept at the social network.

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

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Musk has registered himself as a free speech absolutist, but he must balance those desires with laws and business realities. He said in an open letter to advertisers last week as he took over the company: “Of course Twitter cannot be a free-for-all hellscape, where anything can be said without consequence.” existence.”

It is not immediately clear how Tesla employees should split their schedules between the automaker and Twitter.

Usually, when Tesla employees work for Elon Musk’s other ventures, usually SpaceX or the Boring Company, they get paid by the other venture as a consultant. Some of Musk’s employees have full-time positions at more than one of his businesses. For example, Tesla’s Vice President of Materials, Charlie Kuehmann, is also the vice president of SpaceX.

At other times, two Tesla employees told CNBC, the electric maker’s employees are pressured to help with projects at its other companies without extra pay because it is seen as so good for their positions, or because the work is believed to help a related party. trade or project.

Tesla is facing major scrutiny over the technology built and maintained by its Autopilot team, namely its driver assistance systems, which are marketed as Autopilot, FSD and FSD Beta.

The Securities and Exchange Commission, the Department of Justice, and the California Department of Motor Vehicles are all investigating whether Tesla or Musk broke laws and misled customers about Tesla’s driver assistance systems, which are still in development and are not makes the company’s own cars. drive

At the same time, the federal vehicle safety authority, NHTSA, continues to investigate whether there were defects in Tesla’s driver assistance systems that contributed to or caused accidents. The way 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 have been involved in code review on the social network, even though they lack the skills to working on Autopilot and other Tesla software and hardware overlaps directly with the languages ​​and systems used. building and maintaining the social network. Those employees asked not to be named because they are not authorized to speak to the media about internal matters, and they fear retaliation.

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For example, most engineers in car companies, even the technologically advanced Tesla, do not know how to design and operate diagnostic tools and platforms that are accessible to the general public.

Twitter has multiple codebases with millions of lines of code each, and several 10- or even 100-queries per second (QPS) systems underpinning it. At Tesla, Python is one of the preferred scripting languages, and at Twitter programmers have used Scala extensively.

Twitter is also more open to international regulations regarding 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 all kinds of technical documentation to his teams, to justify their work and the work of their teams, and the value of to explain the company. They risk being fired if they don’t make a good impression, they said.

The workers said they are worried about being fired without reason or warning, rather than being laid off with separation. Some are concerned that they won’t be able to reap benefits from stock options that are expected to be granted in the first week of November, according to documents seen by CNBC.

At the same time, Twitter employees said that they have not yet received specific plans from Musk and his team, and are largely in the dark about possible head cuts within their organizations, budgets and long-term strategies.

Musk has set almost impossible deadlines for some to list items, however.

One immediate project is to redesign the company’s membership software, called Twitter Blue, and the company’s verification system (sometimes called “blue checks” for the way they are mark on the service). Employees say Musk wants that work done by the first week of November. The Verge previously reported that Musk wants to pay $20 per user per month, and only provide authentication tokens to the accounts of users who are paid subscribers, and that he would 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 hit Musk’s aggressive deadlines, according to internal communications. The sprint orders have come without any discussion of overtime pay or comp time, or job security. Completing tasks 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. In addition, some Slack Twitter channels have gone virtually silent, several employees told CNBC.

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

On Sunday night, in a demonstration of his unrestricted access to inside information at the company, CEO Elon Musk (who calls himself “Chief Twit” but is officially the CEO and sole director ) posted a screenshot to his 112 million registered followers on Twitter.

The screenshot showed comments made by Twitter’s head of safety and integrity, Yoel Roth, in May 2022. At the time, Musk was trying to get out of his deal to buy Twitter for $54.20 per share.

In court, and in public, Musk had strongly accused Twitter of cheating metrics, specifically reducing the amount of spam, fake accounts and harmful bots on the platform.

In the internal message that Musk made public, Roth wrote disparagingly about an insider named Amir, and also said that if Amir continued to “BS” himself or to others about goals and key results, that Twitter would “literally do what is. Elon accuses us of doing that.”

Musk allegation in a tweet that, “The Wattell & Twitter board deliberately hid this evidence from the court.” He also appeared to threaten further legal action, writing: “Stay tuned, more to come…”

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


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