Elon Musk polarized Silicon Valley tech workers and exposed the culture war


“In an effort to put Twitter on a healthy path, we will go through the difficult process of reducing our global workforce on Friday,” Twitter management said in an email to employees that Bloomberg reviewed. “We recognize that this will impact a number of people who have made valuable contributions to Twitter, but this action is unfortunately necessary to ensure the company’s success in the future.”

The massive layoffs revealed small facets of a cultural divide in Silicon Valley, where bro culture is still very much alive. Some tech workers who revere Musk applauded his arrival on Twitter, while others expressed disgust at how Musk is already changing the social media giant.

The billionaire intends to make Twitter a less guarded space. He talked about bringing back banned users, including Donald Trump, who was de-platformed for spreading misinformation. Hate speech immediately increased when Musk took over, according to a study by Montclair State University. Some people who have been made redundant were responsible for monitoring content abuse.

For a small, elite group of Silicon Valley, Musk’s layoffs and leadership represent a victory. “Twitter is a symbol of the culture war on the ‘woke’ side for a lot of people, and Elon being ‘anti-woke’ acquiring it and maybe dumping it feels like a win for that side,” an employee of the company explained. ‘Amazon on Blind, an anonymous social network for tech workers.

“Twitter was on a power trip for most of [the] the past decade and had clearly shut down discussion of valid topics,” a Meta employee wrote on Blind. “Someone intervened and took out the trash. People are getting mad now when they were the same clowns shouting “private company can do anything hurr durr”.

While many blind users noted that the memes that popped up depicting Musk as Thanos from the Marvel Universe were insensitive given the real life and jobs involved, one Google employee replied, “Well, if you don’t If you weren’t focused on censorship and de-platforming so many people would have more sympathy towards you.

Another Twitter employee seemed to concede the company was overstaffed: “We’re way overdue on cutting fat.”

The anti-Musk crowd is up in arms

For other tech workers, Musk’s takeover and subsequent corporate reorganization are a symbol of something more menacing. A Twitter employee wrote that it’s strange that people are “dancing on the grave” of one of the last big companies that offers work-life balance and a good salary, although an Amazon employee has retorted that his employee friends on Twitter had said the workplace culture was more toxic than Amazon.

Another Amazon employee explained how Musk was the problem. “I’m not typing a long explanation on why you shouldn’t be toxic, it’s basic humanity to stand together against a greater enemy (billionaires),” they wrote. “End of message.”

A Media.net employee has vowed never to work for or use “the product of any company to which Elon Musk is distant”. And Twitter’s former engineering director said he was relieved to be let go and escape the apparent change in culture under Musk’s leadership.

“Honestly happy to be fired but the veil of @Elon Musk is drilled,” Kushal Dave wrote in a tweet that has since been deleted. “As messy as Twitter was before Elon, it’s now a clown town of politics, sycophancy and psychological abuse.”

Several threads on Blind offer referrals and other tech opportunities for recently unemployed Twitter workers. And there seems to be some camaraderie internally, like blue hearts reportedly flooded Twitter’s workplace messaging platform in response to the layoffs.

But rumblings of division persist.

A Twitter employee said Business Intern that Musk’s critics have been fired since Twitter fell into the billionaire’s hands, meaning attempts to crush a revolution. The employee said they were almost in mourning. “Until last week, I felt like most people at the company felt the same way I did. For the most part, I still do,” they said. “But on Blind, it’s been crazy for me to see this little faction of newly created Elon sidekicks suddenly rise up and try to make their voices heard.”

As people take to Twitter to announce the stern layoffs with the hashtag #oneteam, it looks like the team — and Silicon Valley — is splitting into at least two teams: pro and anti-Musk.

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