Elon Musk to talk directly with Twitter employees amid anger, doubt over $44 billion deal

Elon Musk and Twitter
Numerous stories of unhappy and angry employees have emerged since the deal was announced. Photo credit: Reuters

Elon Musk will talk directly to Twitter employees for the first time this week since announcing his US$44 billion bid to take over the social media giant.

Business Insider reported the news, citing an email sent to staff from Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal. A spokesperson for the organisation later confirmed Musk would attend the all-hands meeting this week.

The meeting, set for Thursday (US time), will see the billionaire take questions directly from employees, according to the source - which could prove controversial.

Since the deal was first announced in April there have been stories of unhappiness and anger among Twitter employees.

In a town hall meeting heard by Reuters, Agrawal was asked what impact Musk's plans would have on staff attrition, particularly after telling potential investors he planned to slash jobs and executive salaries.

"I'm tired of hearing about shareholder value and fiduciary duty. What are your honest thoughts about the very high likelihood that many employees will not have jobs after the deal closes?" the employee asked.

Other employees worried about advertisers pulling money and whether Musk's erratic behaviour on social media could destabilise the business. More took to internal online forums to express their concerns about being targeted by Musk, according to reports.

That concern wasn't unwarranted after the Tesla CEO amplified tweets about Vijaya Gadde, an executive at the platform, causing her to be subjected to a wave of harassment.

That included racist comments and others calling her "scum", a "femishit', and "personally responsible for untold thousands of deaths" after removing COVID-19 treatment misinformation posts.

Former Twitter CEO Dick Costolo then fired back at Musk after he then shared a right-wing meme featuring an image of Gadde.

"What's going on? You're making an executive at the company you just bought the target of harassment and threats," Costolo wrote.

Musk's upcoming Q&A with Twitter staff comes as doubts continue to circulate about whether the deal will be completed, given the bombastic billionaire's public statements.

That's despite Twitter saying it expects the deal to go through as planned.

"Twitter has and will continue to cooperatively share information with Mr Musk to consummate the transaction in accordance with the terms of the merger agreement," the company said last week.

"We believe this agreement is in the best interest of all shareholders. We intend to close the transaction and enforce the merger agreement at the agreed price and terms."

But Musk has said the deal is on hold because he doesn't believe the platform's estimation of fake and bot accounts is accurate.

Twitter, according to some experts online, then called Musk's bluff by agreeing to supply him with its "firehose" of data on the matter in a bid to end the standoff.

That consists of more than 500 million tweets each day as well as data about the tweeter, what software they use and more.

Others said Musk was simply trying to negotiate a reduction in price after the shares fell in value.

"It's fairly obvious that he has buyer's remorse and he is trying whatever to get a reduction in price, and I think he may succeed," Dennis Dick, a proprietary trader at Bright Trading, told Reuters.

"You can see the sell-off in social media stocks and he has realised that he overpaid... all these are tactics just to get a reduction in price."