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Elon Musk Fires a Twitter Employee on Twitter

The new boss of the social network is revamping the platform to generate new sources of income.
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Elon Musk is in charge at Twitter  (TWTR) - Get Free Report

Since the billionaire acquired the social network for $44 billion on October 27, he has been busy trying to find the winning formula to generate profits as soon as possible.

"I have too much work on my plate, that's for sure," Musk said on November 14, during an appearance at B20 Indonesia, a business conference running alongside the G20 summit in Bali. "I'm working the absolute most that I can work  -- morning to night, seven days a week."

Musk also told attendees at the 29th annual Baron Investment Conference a few days earlier, that his workload has increased from 70 hours a week to 120.

"But, I think once Twitter is set on the right path, it will be much easier to manage than SpaceX or Tesla."

The tech tycoon explained that this heavy workload is due to the fact that there is a lot to do to fix the platform, make it user-friendly and attract creators / influencers who are courted by advertisers. 

It is in this context that Musk and Eric Frohnhoefer, a Twitter engineer, clashed publicly on the social network on November 13. The billionaire ended the discussion by firing Frohnhoefer.

It all started with Musk complaining about the slowness of the updates to the Twitter app on phones powered by Android, the operating system developed by Google and main rival to Apple's iOs.

'He's Fired'

"Btw, I’d like to apologize for Twitter being super slow in many countries," Musk wrote on Twitter on November 13. "App is doing >1000 poorly batched RPCs just to render a home timeline!"

The billionaire's apology and presentation of the situation was not appreciated by Frohnhoefer. He didn't hesitate to let his boss know.

"I have spent ~6yrs working on Twitter for Android and can say this is wrong," the employee commented.

"Twitter is super slow on Android. What have you done to fix that?" Musk asked him.

"We have done a bunch of work to improve performance and we found that it correlates well with increasing UAM and Ad spend. Agree, there is plenty of room for performance improvements on Android. However, I don’t think the number of requests is the primary issue," Frohnhoefer responded.

This would be followed by a series of tweets in which the engineer explained what he and his colleagues are doing to improve the user experience.

"I think there are three reasons the app is slow. First it’s bloated with features that get little usage. Second, we have accumulated years of tech debt as we have traded velocity and features over perf. Third, we spend a lot of time waiting for network responses," he wrote.

After that last message, Musk fired him.

"He's fired," the billionaire announced.

"Guess it is official now," the engineer posted on November 14, with an image showing that he no longer had access to his work computer.

Feedback 'Is Unemployment'

He also changed his bio on Twitter: "San Diegan of the year. Android developer open to new opportunities. No crypto nonsense. Formerly @twitter," Frohnhoefer wrote.

The dismissal of the engineer aroused mixed reactions on the social network. Some users believe that the billionaire was right to fire him, because his boss should not be criticized in public, while others pointed out that Musk, who calls himself "free speech absolutist," does not like being contradicted and defends free speech only when it's not directed at him.

"Some of the things Elon is doing are sort of reckless but this sort of thing is actually something I support. People regardless of their opinion should not publicly try to embarrass their bosses publicly. If he hadn’t been an employee - I encourage Eric, but not here," commented one Twitter user.

"'I fire my employees for giving feedback” - elon cant wait to see what work mentality this leads to in the twitter space," commented another user.

The engineer himself responded to commentators and critics.

"We use to say feedback it a gift. Well, now the gift is unemployment," Frohnhoefer defended himself.