Nov 18 (Reuters) – Elon Musk kicked off a Twitter poll late on Friday asking followers to vote on whether to restore former US President Donald Trump’s account to the platform. Initial results showed that about 60% voted yes.
“Vox Populi, Vox Dei,” Musk tweeted, a Latin phrase that roughly means “the voice of the people is the voice of God.” The poll was open for 24 hours.
Musk, the new owner of Twitter, said in May that he would reverse Twitter’s ban on Trump, whose account was suspended following last year’s attack on the US Capitol.
Musk said earlier in the day that no decision had yet been made to bring Trump’s account back and that Twitter had reinstated a number of controversial accounts that had been banned or suspended, including satirical website Babylon Bee and comedian Kathy Griffin.
Musk’s decision to ask Twitter users for advice on who should be on the platform is part of a massive restructuring of the company, including mass layoffs.
In a Friday memo to remaining employees that Reuters saw, Musk asked those who write software code to report to the 10th floor of Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters early in the afternoon.
The billionaire said in a follow-up email, “If possible, I would appreciate it if you could fly to SF to attend in person,” adding that he would be at the office until midnight and return Saturday morning.
He asked employees to email him a summary of what their software code “achieved” over the past six months, “along with up to 10 screenshots of the most eye-catching lines of code.”
“There will be brief, technical interviews that will help me better understand Twitter’s tech stack,” Musk wrote in one of the emails, asking engineers to report by 2 p.m. Friday.
The emails came a day after an estimated hundreds of Twitter employees decided to leave the beleaguered social media company following a Thursday deadline from Musk that staffers sign up for “long, high-intensity hours.”
The exodus adds to the change and chaos that marked Musk’s first three weeks as Twitter owner. He has fired top management, including former CEO Parag Agarwal and senior officials responsible for security and privacy, under the supervision of a regulator.
A White House official also weighed in, saying Twitter should tell Americans how the company protected their data.
Tech website Platformer reported on Friday that Robin Wheeler, the company’s top advertising salesperson, had been fired.
Wheeler, who told employees in a memo last week that she would be staying, tweeted Friday, “To the team and my customers… you were always my first and only priority,” with a greeting emoji adopted as a goodbye for departing employees.
Twitter told employees Thursday it would close its offices and limit access to badges until Monday, according to two sources. Reuters could not immediately confirm whether the headquarters will reopen.
As of Friday afternoon, the company had begun cutting off access to company systems for some employees who declined Musk’s offer, three people told Reuters.
Another source said the company planned to close one of Twitter’s three main US data centers, at its SMF1 facility near Sacramento, to cut costs.
In his first email to Twitter employees this month, Musk warned that Twitter may not be able to “survive the coming economic downturn.” He also said, “We’re also changing the Twitter policy so that remote work is no longer allowed unless you have a specific exception.”
Amid the changes, Moody’s withdrew its B1 rating for Twitter, saying it had insufficient information to maintain the rating.
Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin and Sheila Dang; Additional reporting by Katie Paul; Written by Sheila Dang and Katie Paul; Adapted by Jonathan Oatis, David Gregorio, Emelia Sithole-Matarise, Daniel Wallis, Sayantani Ghosh and Gerry Doyle
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