More than 50 Tesla employees are helping Elon Musk handle matters at Twitter

But do they really have the necessary skillset?
Ameya Paleja
Tesla EV electric vehicles on display.
Tesla EV electric vehicles on display.


The new CEO of Twitter, Elon Musk, has authorized 50 employees from his other companies, such as Tesla, SpaceX, and the Boring Company, to help him handle matters at the social media company, according to a report by CNBC.

In addition to the employees, Musk has friends and advisors who are looking into the affairs at Twitter, such as the head of his family office Jared Birchall, venture capitalist and founding member of the PayPal team David Sacks, and angel investor Jason Calacanis.

After completing his Twitter acquisition, Musk fired the Board of Directors and the top brass at the social media site. This leaves him as the sole director of the company, taking up the position of the CEO at Twitter, although his Twitter bio describes him as Twitter Complaint Hotline Operator as of now.

More than 50 Tesla employees are helping Elon Musk handle matters at Twitter
Tesla Motors in Fremont stock photo.

Who is not complaining on Twitter?

Musk's major move post the acquisition has been to begin charging users a monthly fee for retaining their verified status. Previously, Interesting Engineering reported that Musk and his team were looking at a $20 monthly fee but have since reduced their demand to $8.

The reduced fee also has also been opposed, but Musk's Twitter is promising "Priority in replies, mentions and search," the ability to post long audio and videos, and reduced ads to users who sign up, Business Insider reported.

While Musk and his team are working out the pricing point, Twitter engineers have been put to task and asked to complete this rollout within a week. According to the CNBC report, managers have asked their teams to put in 12-hour shifts and work even on weekends to get tasks completed for the new boss.

There have been no discussions on overtime payable for this work, and not falling in line could mean the loss of jobs for Twitter employees. Musk walked into Twitter headquarters with the prospect of heavy job cuts, and meeting ambitious deadlines may protect employees from facing the trim.

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In such an environment, where Musk also has full access to internal communication, internal Slack channels have gone silent, many employees told CNBC on the condition of anonymity.

Fit to oversee?

As programmers at Twitter burn the midnight oil to serve their new master, Musk has also parachuted over 50 employees from Tesla, Boring Company, and SpaceX to oversee the operations at Twitter and quickly learn everything they can about the social media company.

According to CNBC's report, this is a common occurrence at Musk-owned companies where employees are asked to work on projects in other domains and are at all levels of the hierarchy, from workers to Vice-Presidents.

These trusted employees, now at Twitter, will feed in information to Musk on all aspects of running the social media site, from content moderation to data privacy requirements but are largely tasked with running through the source code to help Musk decide how the platform can be redesigned.

However, the report pointed out that engineers at even a tech-heavy automotive company like Tesla do not come close to designing publicly accessed platforms like Twitter. The social media site employs multiple code bases, each with millions of lines of code, and systems that use 100 million or more queries per second (QPS).

Tesla engineers rely on Python for their programming, a coding language that was first written more than three decades ago. In comparison, Twitter uses Scala, a more concise coding language that was developed more than a decade later.

Twitter employees are allegedly being asked to demonstrate to Musk's parachuted team, along with technical documentation, how their work adds value to the company, and failing to impress Musk's team might mean they will face the axe.

A Twitter employee who was not part of such a review told The Washington Post that such a review was laughable since Tesla engineers would struggle to accurately assess the code running Twitter.

Will Musk's strategy work in the long run or fall flat? It will be known soon enough.

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