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Elon Musk has finally responded to footage of a senior engineer at Twitter admitting that the social media giant routinely censors conservatives and ‘does not believe in free speech.’
‘Is this legit?’ Musk commented on Tuesday on a Twitter thread where journalist Benny Johnson posted the footage.
Johnson responded by saying that Twitter confirmed the video’s authenticity, posting an unverified photo of an internal message from Twitter warning employees about being targeted by reporters.
Siru Murugesan was recorded saying the company culture is extremely far left where workers are ‘commie as f**k’ and they ‘hate, hate, hate’ Elon Musk’s $44billion takeover.
Johnson also shared a photo of an inactive Twitter account that he claimed belonged to Murugesan.
In a shockingly frank conversation, filmed over several encounters, he said the firm even started to turn him left-wing after he joined.
His comments come amid a firestorm at Twitter as staff fear they will face the ax or be stopped from censoring certain content when the Tesla billionaire takes over.
Musk has vowed to return the platform to a safe space for users to post what they want as well as ‘defeat the spam bots’ and ‘authenticate all humans’.
Meanwhile he fueled speculation he could be seeking to negotiate paying less for the social media giant as he told a Miami conference an agreement at a lower price wouldn’t be ‘out of the question’.
Siru Murugesan, described by Project Veritas as a senior engineer at Twitter, has been caught on camera by an undercover operative admitting the company has a left-wing bias, does not believe in free speech, and that staffers ‘hate’ Elon Musk
Murugesan said that staff at Twitter ‘hate’ Musk’s takeover, and described them as ‘super left, left, left, left, left’
The engineer said that Musk ‘believes in free speech’ – unlike many others at Twitter
Murugesan told the undercover reporter that ‘there is bias’ at Twitter against right-wing figures
Elon Musk said his purchase of Twitter on Friday was ‘temporarily on hold’. He has accused the company of a left-wing bias
What are the key points revealed by Twitter engineer?
Siru Murugesan was secretly recorded saying Twitter has a left-wing bias, right-wing views are often censored and his colleagues are ‘commie as f***.’
The engineer said: ‘Twitter does not believe in free speech, Elon believes in free speech.
‘Twitter wants to censor bullying and harassment and the idea of free speech is that you can bully and harass people. Twitter does not believe in this value as a platform. Because it’s not conducive to a business.
‘Ideologically, it does not make sense, because we’re actually censoring the right and not the left… It’s true, there is bias. It is what it is today.’
The senior employee also said that his left-wing colleagues ‘hate, hate, hate’ Musk’s takeover bid, saying they have threatened to walk if the deal is completed.
Staff also fear the Tesla CEO will make the company far more ‘capitalist’ instead of the ‘socialist’ environment it currently is.
Murugesan was filmed by a female Project Veritas journalist spilling the beans on the tech giant’s left-wing agenda, including they censor right wing posts.
‘Twitter does not believe in free speech,’ he said, adding that his co-workers ‘hated’ Musk’s $44 billion bid to take control of the company.
‘They hate it,’ he said. ‘Oh my God. I’m at least like okay with it. But some of my colleagues are like super left, left, left, left, left.’
Asked how his co-workers responded to the news of Musk’s buyout, Murugesan replied: ‘They’re like, ‘this would be my last day if this happens’.’
Murugesan said Twitter’s office politics were so left-leaning they shaped his own views, and changed him. Like I started working at Twitter and became left,’ he said.
‘I think it’s just like the environment, like you’re there and you become like this commie.’ Murugesan said that right-wingers were openly censored.
‘Ideologically, it does not make sense like, because we’re actually censoring the right, and not the left,’ he told the undercover reporter.
‘So, everyone on the right wing will be like, ‘bro, it’s okay to stay, just gotta tolerate it.’ ‘The left will be like, no, I’m not gonna tolerate it. I need it censored or else I’m not gonna be on the platform.
‘So, it does that on the right. It’s true. There is bias. It is what it is today,’ said Murugesan.
Musk himself has frequently complained about a left-wing bias on Twitter, noting that right-wing figures like Donald Trump and Steve Bannon are banned while extremists on the other side are allowed to remain.
Murugesan said ‘a lot has changed’ since Musk began the takeover process on April 25. He said employees were worried for their jobs, because his companies run differently to Twitter’s ‘socialist’ workplace.
‘You know, our jobs are at stake,’ he said. ‘He’s a capitalist and we weren’t really operating as capitalists, more like very socialist. Like we’re all commie as f***.’
Murugesan said that Twitter’s work culture was ‘socialist’ and ‘commie as f***’ – in contrast to Musk’s strong capitalist instinct
The engineer told the undercover reporter that many of his colleagues were up in arms at Musk’s proposed takeover
Murugesan said the company’s operating procedures were extremely lax.
‘Essentially like everyone gets to do whatever they want, no one really cares about like [operating expenses], like capitalists, they care about numbers or care about how to make the business more efficient,’ he said.
‘But in Twitter, it’s like mental health is everything, like if you are not feeling it, you can take a few days off. People have taken months off, they will come back.
‘But you always like, like do your best at any time. And that’s the culture and you know we’ll run the business as much as possible. But at the same time, you know, like the profits weren’t a lot.’
Murugesan said that many staffers had openly tried to thwart the takeover, worried in particular about Musk’s promise to reinstate people like Trump.
Critics warn that it will see a surge in hate speech on the platform; supporters say it is an important move for free speech. ‘We did all we could, to like revolt against it,’ said Murugesan. ‘A lot of employees revolted against it.
‘But at the end of the day, [the] board of directors have the say, and then they acted on their best interests cause they didn’t wanna get sued.
Leslie Berland, the chief marketing officer, read out questions submitted by Twitter staff
Is Elon trying to bag Twitter for less? Musk says deal at a lower price is ‘not out of the question’
Elon Musk on Monday fueled speculation he could be seeking to negotiate a lower price for his proposed $44 billion buyout of Twitter, telling a Miami tech conference that an agreement at a lower price wouldn’t be ‘out of the question.’
Musk and Twitter agreed a deal on April 25, but it now appears that Musk could be having second thoughts. On Friday, after weeks of complaining about the company’s operations in a series of tweets, he announced he was putting the deal on hold.
He then tweeted about his surprise to learn that only 5 percent of Twitter accounts were bots or spam, and on Monday responded with a poop emoji to CEO Parag Agrawal’s lengthy thread explaining the problem in trying to detect and eliminate bots.
‘So how do advertisers know what they’re getting for their money? This is fundamental to the financial health of Twitter,’ Musk said. Journalist Molly Jong-Fast replied: ‘You’re obviously trying to get out of the deal.’
Twitter’s shares fell 8 percent on Monday to close at $37.39 – significantly below the $54.20 a share that Musk agreed to pay last month to buy the social media company. Musk told the Miami audience that he thought around 20 percent of Twitter accounts were fake.
The day that Musk’s takeover was announced – April 25 – Twitter employees warned of a ‘mass exodus’ of staff, with one participant at an ‘All Hands’ meeting describing the world’s richest man as ‘a person with questionable ethics’.
Staff were invited to the meeting via videolink, hosted by CEO Parag Agrawal and Bret Taylor, the chair of the board.
Questions submitted by staff during the 45-minute meeting were read out by the chief marketing officer, Leslie Berland.
One question asked, in another recording obtained by Project Veritas, was: ‘How does the board and Mr Musk plan on dealing with a mass exodus considering the acquisition is by a person with questionable ethics?’
Taylor replied that ‘one of the themes of today is continuity’.
He said: ‘The question of attrition: As Parag stated, one of the themes of today is continuity, and ensuring that Parag and this leadership team continues to operate the business successfully on behalf of our users, on behalf of our customers, and that has obviously been a big topic of discussion at the board.
‘And as I mentioned, an area that is important to Elon Musk as well, because of the importance of Twitter as a service.’
Agrawal said he had seen many questions about the process, about share schemes, and about working conditions in the future. He said much was still to be clarified.
He said he would try and arrange a staff forum with Musk, and said that he would remain at the company as CEO, at least until the deal was finalized.
‘He wants Twitter to be a powerful, positive force in the world, just like all of us,’ Agrawal said of Musk.
‘He believes Twitter matters.’
He urged employees to ‘operate Twitter as we always have,’ adding that ‘how we run the company, the decisions we make and the positive changes we drive — that will be on us, and under our control.’
Twitter employees are sharing their concerns in internal chatrooms, messages seen by the New York Post show.
‘We’re all going through the five stages of grief in cycles and everyone’s nerves are frazzled,’ one senior staff software engineer reportedly wrote on the company’s internal Slack channel.
The staffer called Musk an ‘a**hole,’ and tried to console his colleagues.
‘We’re all spinning our wheels, and coming up with worst case scenarios (Trump returns! No more moderation!).
‘The fact is that [Musk] has not talked about what he’s planning on doing in any detail outside of broad sweeping statements that could be easily seen as hyperbolic showboating,’ he added.
One site reliability engineer wrote that it was ‘physically cringy watching Elon talk about free speech.’
A senior staff video engineer announced his plans to quit, saying: ‘Not the place to say it perhaps, but I will not work for this company after the takeover.’
The employee unrest begun as soon as Musk’s successful takeover was confirmed.
‘I feel like im going to throw up..I rly don’t wanna work for a company that is owned by Elon Musk,’ one staffer said, according to New York Times reporter Talmon Smith.
Smith’s source told him that it was ‘absolutely insane’ in the internal chat rooms.
Another Twitter employee reportedly complained: ‘I don’t rly know what I’m supposed to do…oh my god, my phone’s been blowing up…We have a meeting about it at 5pm…the CEO is going to address everyone about it’ (it=elon).
‘I hate him, why does he even want this?’
Musk vowed to protect free speech on Twitter, ‘defeat the spam bots’ and ‘authenticate all humans’ as he welcomed the acquisition.
He also revealed he planned to ‘enhance the product with new features’ and ‘make the algorithms open source to increase trust’.
But within the company, there was turmoil at the announcement.
‘I feel like he’s this petulant little boy and that he’s doing this to troll…he doesn’t know anything about our policies and what we do…his statement about our algo was f****** insane…
‘Were just gonna let everyone run amok?…nobody knows,’ the employee said, according to the New York Times.
Some Twitter staff were ‘openly rebelling’ against Musk, one observer noted, posting a screen shot of Twitter’s official Github site and posting a public response entitled ‘The Algorithm’ – with zero code.
On Thursday, the internal unrest at Twitter continued, with Parag Agrawal, the CEO, announcing leadership changes and a hiring freeze.
On Friday morning, Musk threw his Twitter takeover bid into chaos by tweeting that the deal was ‘temporarily on hold’ while he investigated the prevalence of fake and spam accounts on the social media site.
Musk said he was still committed to the $44 billion purchase of the social media company pending an investigation into how many spam accounts are on the site
Elon Musk, pictured at the Met Gala with his mother Maye, has joked that ‘owning the libs’ isn’t cheap after claiming to put his $44 billion acquisition of Twitter on hold
Analysts as well as insiders widely believe that Musk’s tweets on Friday were an attempt to gain leverage and negotiate a lower price for his takeover, which has been approved by Twitter’s board but won’t close for several months.
Even Donald Trump, commenting on his Truth Social platform on Friday, suggested that Musk is looking to negotiate a better deal to buy Twitter after agreeing to pay $54.20 per share.
The former US president said the only reason the Tesla CEO had not called off the Twitter deal yet was because of the $1 billion break-up fee.
‘There is no way Elon Musk is going to buy Twitter at such a ridiculous price, especially since realizing it is a company largely based on BOTS or Spam Accounts,’ Trump wrote as he added jabs at the rival social media company.
‘If it weren’t for the ridiculous Billion Dollar breakup fee, Elon would have already been long gone,’ he added.
Former President Donald Trump was among many who speculated that Musk put the buyout on hold in the hopes of negotiating a better deal
Analysts as well as insiders widely believe that Musk’s tweets on Friday were an attempt to gain leverage and negotiate a lower price for his takeover
This week, Musk has also sparked fierce debate after saying he would allow Trump back on Twitter if and when he takes the reins, in line with his previous declarations that he planned to err on the side of free speech rather than bans and censorship.
Trump has repeatedly stated that he has no plan to go back to Twitter after he was removed from the platform following the January 6 Capitol riot.
Markets have plunged since the deal was approved on April 25, making Twitter’s valuation under the terms seem ever richer in comparison to similar companies.
Musk’s tweet on Friday claiming the deal was on hold had the effect of sending Twitter shares plunging, and boosting Tesla stock, which he is using as collateral to finance the deal, in effect putting Musk in a much stronger negotiating position.
The spread between the offer price and the value of Twitter shares had widened in recent days, implying less than a 50 percent chance of completion, as investors speculated that the downturn would prompt Musk to walk away or seek a lower price.
‘Twitter deal temporarily on hold pending details supporting calculation that spam/fake accounts do indeed represent less than 5% of users,’ Musk told his more than 92 million Twitter followers on Friday morning.
‘To find out, my team will do a random sample of 100 followers’ of the microblogging site, Musk tweeted, inviting others to repeat the process and ‘see what they discover.’
‘If we collectively try to figure out the bot/duplicate user percentage, we can probably crowdsource a good answer.’
Musk tweeted he had ‘relied upon the accuracy of Twitter’s public filings’ in reply to a follower who asked why he had not thought of this before offering to buy the company.
Under the terms of Musk’s contract with Twitter, he is entitled to ask the company for information on its operations following the signing of the deal.
But this is meant to help him prepare for his ownership of Twitter, not to carry out due diligence and reopen negotiations.
Twitter is planning no immediate action against Musk as a result of Musk’s comment, people familiar with the matter said.
The company considered the comment disparaging and a violation of the terms of their deal contract, but was encouraged by Musk subsequently tweeting he was committing to the acquisition, the sources added.
Musk came to Twitter’s office for a meeting on May 6 as part of the transaction planning process, a Twitter spokesperson said.
Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal also weighed in, tweeting: ‘While I expect the deal to close, we need to be prepared for all scenarios.’
Senior engineer at Twitter lifts the lid on social media giant’s bias: Conversation with undercover reporter in full
PROJECT VERITAS: So do you think there is a difference between Twitter’s definition of free speech and Elon’s definition of free speech?
SIRU MURUGESAN: Twitter does not believe in free speech. Elon believes in free speech.
PV: How does Twitter not believe in free speech?
SM: Because Twitter wants to censor bullying and harassment, and the idea of free speech is that you can bully and harass people. And Twitter does not believe in this value, as a platform. Because it’s not conducive to business. If you want to run a business – like, even Facebook or Instagram, they don’t want people bullying and harassing. Or even YouTube. They straight up, any toxic behavior, they’re like: ‘Nope, we can’t have it.’
SM: For example, if you bully a transgender, the right thinks it’s OK, the left does not. Ideologically it does not make sense because we’re actually censoring the right, and not the left. So, everyone on the right wing will be like, ‘bro, it’s okay to stay, just gotta tolerate it.’ The left will be like, no, I’m not gonna tolerate it. I need it censored or else I’m not gonna be on the platform. So it does that on the right. It is true. There is bias. It is what it is today.
SM: They’re both losing followers because the left is leaving and the right is coming back on the platform. The right that couldn’t denounce the platform, they were like: ‘hey, you know what? We’re going to come back because Elon is coming in.’ They’re basically – Elon is the new Trump, because they had a leader, they feel more confident. Because how do people join platforms? They join because they want to look up a leader who will protect them and give them safety. They didn’t feel safe in the platform at that point. But now they feel safer. Now that Elon’s there.
PV: What about us?
SM: Well, we’ll feel less safer. It’s just like a spectrum. Like, I feel like, when – I don’t know the two parties can truly co-exist on one platform.
PV: What do your colleagues say about it (Musk’s takeover)?
SM: They hate it. Oh my God. I’m at least OK with it. Some of my colleagues are like super left, left, left, left, left.
PV: What do they say?
SM: They’re like, ‘this would be my last day if this happens’.
PV: Has much changed since Elon’s coming in?
SM: A lot has changed. A lot has changed. Like, we’re stress eating a lot. Like we’re always worried for our jobs.
PV: Why are you guys so worried though?
SM: You know, our jobs are at stake. He’s a capitalist and we weren’t really operating as capitalists, more like very socialist. Like we’re all commie as f***.
SM: Like, I started working at Twitter and became left. I think it’s just like the environment, like you’re there and you become like this commie. They call it Commiefornia for a reason.
SM: Elon makes some good points, sometimes. I am slowly starting to by his side a little bit.
SM: We tried our best, but…
PV: How so?
SM: We did all we could, to like revolt against it. A lot of employees revolted against it. But at the end of the day, [the] board of directors have the say, and then they acted on their best interests cause they didn’t wanna get sued. Cause if they get sued, their families are at stake. They’re always looking out for themselves at the end of the day, right? And they looked out for themselves, as they should, cause they have families and they, they made the choice that they had to make. They literally couldn’t make any other choice. Cause if they had denied the offer from Elon, shareholders could have filed a lawsuit against them. And depleted them of their wealth, personally. Like whatever the thought they had. So their quality of life decreases.
SM: I basically went to work for like four hours a week last quarter. And it’s just how it works in our company. But I started putting in more hours because I want to get promoted. And I feel like, because of inflation, my buying power has like reduced a little bit. And I want to get promoted so that, like, they inflate your salary. They increase your salary a lot when you get promoted. And sort of, just let me like try for it right now.
PV: How would you describe communism inside Twitter?
SM: It’s just a phrase. But essentially like everyone gets to do whatever they want, no one really cares about like OPEX (operating expenses) – like capitalists, they care about numbers, about how to make the business more efficient. But in Twitter, it’s like mental health is everything, like if you are not feeling it, you can take a few days off. People have taken months off, they will come back. And that’s the culture and you know, we’ll run the business as much as possible. But at the same time, you know, like the profits weren’t a lot. Capitalists would be like: ‘You’ve gotta try to make profits or you’re out.’ A lot of people won’t survive in that culture. Lot of companies don’t follow that culture.