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On Sunday, April 10, Parag Agrawal, CEO of Twitter tweeted Elon Musk will no longer be joining the social media company’s board of directors.
This comes less than one week after he was offered a seat after becoming Twitter’s largest shareholder.
— Parag Agrawal (@paraga) April 11, 2023
On April 4, the Tesla CEO acquired a 9.1% stake in Twitter. The company then announced he would be appointed to the 12-member board pending a background check and formal acceptance.
The position, which was not a top-tier one, would have become official on Saturday, April 9. That morning, Musk notified Twitter he would not be accepting it. He did not give specific reasons for his change of heart.
This comes just days after Musk indicated his excitement about joining the board, tweeting “Looking forward to working with Parag & Twitter board to make significant improvements to Twitter in coming months!”Musk Shares In Twitter No Longer Limited
As per his agreement for a seat on the board of directors, Musk’s stake in Twitter would have been limited to 14.9% or less of common stock during his tenure, and for 90 days after.
The position also would have come with a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the company and its shareholders, and Musk has been publicly critical of the platform in the past.
By rejecting the seat, Musk is no longer constrained by either of these requirements. However, as Agrawal pointed out in a note sent out to the company, “Elon is our biggest shareholder and we remain open to his input.”Tesla CEO Now Free to Criticize Platform
In two since-deleted tweets from over the weekend, Musk directed further critiques at Twitter. One tweet suggested turning company’s San Francisco headquarters into a homeless shelter and another suggested everyone who signs up for Twitter Blue should be given an authentication checkmark.What Does This Mean for Twitter’s Future?
Musk no longer has a cap on the number of shares he can hold, opening the door for a hostile takeover. As the world’s wealthiest man, he has the resources to buy any shares that hit the market.
In the wake of these announcements, Twitter’s stock price has fluctuated wildly, soaring by as much as 30% following news of Musk’s acquisition, followed by another 10% when his appointment to the board was announced. Following news of his reversal, shares dropped by as much as 4% in pre-market trading Monday before rebounding slightly.
Agrawal’s statement suggested the fallout from Musk’s actions could cause distractions within the company, but insisted goals and priorities remain unchanged.
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CNBC reported on Friday that Twitter’s full-time workforce has been reduced to about 1,300 active employees. The report claims that the number includes fewer than 550 full-time engineers. Elon Musk’s tweet is to debunk this false report. CNBC also claims that about 75 of the company’s 1,300 employees are on furlough. This includes about 40 engineers, CNBC said, citing internal records.
“That claim is incorrect,” Musk tweeted in response to a tweet citing CNBC. “Twitter has approximately 2,300 active employees.”
Musk adds: “There are still hundreds of employees working on trust and safety, and several thousand contractors. My other companies have less than 10 people working on Twitter.”
In addition, Musk also said that Twitter can be updated normally in the Apple App Store. Musk took over Twitter last October — for $44 billion — and quickly made a series of product and organizational changes. The company rolled out a modified Twitter-verified Blue badge as a paid service and also laid off about 50% of its staff.Elon Musk announced the “new” feature on Twitter Twitter does not allow the development of third-party clients
A few days ago, Twitter released the “Developer Agreement” updated terms. The new update clearly states that developers can no longer develop third-party Twitter apps. It is explicitly mentioned in the terms that developers are not allowed to “create alternative or similar services/products to the Twitter application”.
This means that third-party Twitter apps such as Tweetbot, Twitterrific, Aviary, Echofon, Birdie, etc. will no longer function properly. At the moment, it is unclear whether these third-party clients will restore access in the future. Twitter officials quietly adjusted the API last Thursday. The result of this is a large number of third-party clients not working properly. The official tweeted on January 18, saying: “Twitter is enforcing its long-standing API rules. This may cause some apps to not work.”
During the whole process, the developers of the third-party client never received any notification from Twitter. They also did not receive an official letter requesting closure. Twitter and even officials have never made it clear which APIs are violated.Twitter Auction of Hundreds of Office Supplies
The company has been trying hard to cut costs since Elon Musk took over. For Mr Musk, the basic way of cutting costs is to fire employees. However, this is not the only way. According to reports, Twitter has auctioned off some office supplies at its San Francisco HQ. The company sold off a wine cooler, pizza oven and other supplies. This appears to be the latest move by the company to cut costs.
An auction page of the auction company, Heritage Global Partners shows that more than 600 items were sold online. On the page, the items are described as “surplus office assets”. It is worthy of note that the auction items include a 10-foot-tall Twitter bird logo neon sign. The final auction price of this asset is $40,000. However, Nick Dove, president of Heritage Global Partners, said in an interview that the auction has nothing to do with Twitter’s crisis.
This story is developing.
Elon Musk is wasting no time following through on rumors of his promise to gut Twitter’s workforce. Upon his recent $44 billion purchase of the social media platform, the Tesla and SpaceX CEO floated firing about half of the company’s roughly 7,500 employees. In an internal, unsigned email sent to staff yesterday and subsequently circulated online, it was conveyed that “in an effort to place Twitter on a healthy path, we will go through the difficult process of reducing our global work force.” A few employees already reported receiving termination notices on Thursday, with many more announcing wholesale shutdowns of various departments early this morning.
As reported by Gizmodo, at least five former employees are already readying a class action lawsuit against Twitter for failure to comply with California’s WARN Act, “a law that requires large employers to provide 60 days of notice to employees before mass layoffs.” Meanwhile, as many as 1 million users have already deactivated their Twitter accounts, according to MIT Technology Review.
Based on former employee tweets and news outlet sources, the cuts as anticipated appear to affect roughly half the workforce, including product trust and safety, policy, curation, AI, data science, research, social good, machine learning, and vital engineering teams. The Washington Post also notes via anonymous sources that Twitter’s entire communications team now consists of just two people.Machine Learning Ethics, Transparency, and Accountability (META) Team
Confirmed via former Twitter employee Joan Deitchman, the META team (not relation to Facebook’s parent company) was responsible for “researching and pushing for algorithmic transparency and algorithmic choice… studying algorithmic amplification… [and] inventing and building ethical AI tooling and methodologies.”
The department’s dissolution could make it more difficult to understand how Twitter’s algorithms decide what stories and trends are pushed more than others, as well as decrease transparency in the ways the company decides to mitigate and address AI bias.Curation Team
Confirmed via former employee, Andrew Haigh, the Curation Team’s recently launched website described its focus as being “responsible for highlighting and contextualizing the best events and stories that unfold on Twitter… including Topics, Trends descriptions, and Moments, makes it easy for customers to experience only-on-Twitter conversations and get the most out of the platform, regardless of which accounts they follow.” Another former team member, James Glynn, was the group’s Senior Curation Lead dedicated to “Misinfo, Elections, [and] Crisis Situations.”
Decreased focus on how stories and news cycles are both promoted, described, and fact-checked could make it much harder for Twitter users to trust trending topics’ veracity and objectivity.Accessibility Experience Team
Confirmed by former engineering manager, Gerard Cohen, Accessibility Experience pretty much concerned what the name implies—making Twitter’s interface and interactions as intuitive to users as possible, regardless of physical access issues. Most recently, the team introduced the “Alt Text” feature for images, which provided descriptions of tweeted media for users with vision impairments and issues. “We had so much more to do, but we worked hard! There aren’t very many people that have had the opportunity to make such an important global platform like Twitter accessible, but we understood the mission,” Cohen wrote on Twitter.
The lack of a dedicated accessibility team might mean far less support for users who could benefit from interface accommodations and upgrades. This, hypothetically, may minimize who can use Twitter.Human Rights Team
Shannon Raj Singh, now former Human Rights Counsel at Twitter, tweeted today that the entire team has been cut from the company. The team was focused on protecting Twitter users, journalists, and activists facing human rights violations around the world, including those in the midst of conflicts like those in Ethiopia, Afghanistan, and Ukraine. According to Singh’s tweet, the team had also implemented the UN Guiding Principles on Business & Human Rights.
According to a survey conducted by Resumé Builder , 89% of companies offering voluntary separation in 2023 said they were inspired by Elon Musk’s decision in November of last year to offer a form of such to staff who aren’t prepared to go “extremely hardcore” and do lots of additional work.
Layoffs made the headlines on an almost-daily basis throughout 2023, with the tech sector witnessing record numbers of redundancies as the entire global economy suffered. While alternatives like voluntary separation are being explored, it’s unlikely to reverse the trend completely.
After acquiring the social media platform last year, Elon Musk issued an ultimatum to Twitter’s staff: work longer hours and go “extremely hardcore”, or quit and receive severance pay – also known as a “voluntary separation agreement”.
89% of businesses that offered voluntary separation agreements in 2023 in an attempt to avoid making more layoffs say they “took their cue” from Twitter chief Elon Musk.
Famously, after making the announcement, Musk said employees only had until the end of the day to decide whether they wanted to stay or jump ship. As with much of his behavior at the helm of Twitter, he was widely criticized for the decision, and 1,200 employees resigned following his crassly delivered ultimatum.
Of the 89%, half (50%) admitted they were strongly inspired by the billionaire tech tycoon’s actions, while 39% said they were “somewhat” influenced by him.
Musk has been forced to make additional layoffs since then, but for the companies he inspired, it’s largely been a different story; 95% of businesses report that voluntary separation either was either “somewhat” or “highly” successful in preventing layoffs.
However, 53% of companies say they still need around 20% of their workforce to leave voluntarily to avoid making more staff redundant over the next year.Voluntary Separation: the New Norm?
Over 95% of companies have admitted they are either “very likely” or “somewhat likely” to offer voluntary separation to employees in 2023, in an effort to avoid continually making layoffs, Resumé Builder found.
61% of these businesses say they will offer even more voluntary separation agreements than they did this year while 49% of businesses that were yet to offer voluntary separation said they were likely to start offering agreements in 2023.
The hope for many executives is that employees already “quiet quitting” and doing the bare minimum that they’re contracted to do will simultaneously be most inclined to leave and least likely to be missed by the business.The Downsides of Voluntary Separation
Although 90% of businesses said that voluntary separation will help them reduce costs, there is some fear that the practice could ultimately turn out to be counterproductive for companies.
68% of those who answered the survey admitted they worry that offering voluntary separation agreements will lead to the company losing its best employees.
If you give employees monetary incentives to leave their jobs, there will always be a proportion that takes you up on that offer. However, you’ll have to have to consider the effect making a string of layoffs will inevitably have on the morale of existing employees.
For tens of thousands of companies struggling in the current economic climate, 2023 will be full of difficult decisions like this. Whether turning to Elon Musk for direction again is a good idea, however, is certainly questionable.
In this age of increased gender equality when women are doctors,
astronauts and Supreme Court Justices, the stats for women in IT are
According to the American Association of University Women based in
Washington, D.C., women represent roughly 20 percent of IT
professionals, and receive less than 28 percent of the bachelors degrees
in computer science. That’s down from a high of 37 percent in 1984.
Computer science has the distinction of being the only field in which
women’s participation has actually decreased over time.
”The numbers for women trained in IT are down dramatically,” says Dr.
Telle Whitney, president and CEO of the Anita Borg Institute for Women,
a Palo Alto-based organization that provides a platform to allow women’s
voices, ideas and spirits to influence technology. Whitney received a
Ph.D in computer science from Cal Tech.
In engineering, the numbers are even worse. According to the National
Academy of Engineering, women account for only 19 percent of engineering
So while women make up about half of the U.S. workforce, why do they
make such a poor showing in technical fields? And more importantly, what
can and is being done about it?
Girls in Math Class
Problems in the American education system have been well documented.
Particularly in the field of math, warring educational philosophies have
meant that students generally score lower in math than their
contemporaries in other developed nations. To make matters worse, many
teachers don’t expect girls to excel in math, so they don’t focus on
them in class and they don’t push them to do better. Some girls pick up
this cue and don’t expect to do well either.
”At school, I was told that my B grades in math and science were really
good for a girl,” says Jasmine Noel, an IT analyst specializing in
network management for New York-based Ptak, Noel & Associates. Noel now
holds a bachelor of science degree from MIT and a master of science
degree from the University of Southern California.
Unfortunately, little has changed since she was in school.
A few years back, a career awareness survey was conducted by The Futures
Channel, a Los Angeles-based media company whose programming focuses on
education, engineering, technology and space. Young girls named teacher,
secretary and nurse as their main job possibilities.
”Students generally were very unfamiliar with the workplace and
opportunities available to them,” says Anne Prohov, education
coordinator at The Futures Channel. ”This was especially the case for
young girls. There was a surprising absence of awareness of engineering
and technology-type jobs.”
This year’s Lemelson-MIT Invention Index shows a new twist.
Instead of focusing on these traditional professions, girls appear to be
increasingly influenced by America’s seemingly celebrity-obsessed
culture. Now 32 percent say they want to be an actress, while 24 percent
want to be a musician and 22 percent want to be an athlete. Seventeen
percent want to be elected president. Only 10 percent want to get into
the field of science/innovation.
Fortunately, there are more organizations than ever intent on changing
The Anita Borg Institute, for example, just organized the Grace Hopper
Celebration for Women in Computing Conference with more than 900
participants from academia and industry. This represents a big gain over
past events which managed no more than 650 attendees.
”We often hear stories about students ready to drop out because they
are fed up being the only woman,” says Whitney. ”The conferences help
them to network with their peers and provide access to mentors. Most
return with a higher level of commitment to their course of studies.”
Another organization working hard to reverse the trend is the
Math/Science Network, based at Mills College in Oakland, Calif. The
organization’s members oversee a set of conferences known as ”Expanding
your Horizons (EYH) in Science and Mathematics.” The purpose of these
gatherings is to increase the participation of women in science,
engineering, and mathematics. EYH conferences are held in approximately
100 sites in 30 states each year.
”We need to spread the word to young girls about the importance of
taking all the math and science they can in high school in order to
maximize their career choices,” says Teri Perl, president of the
Math/Science Network. Perl has a Ph.D in mathematics education from
Stanford University. ”We also need to provide more role models through
conference workshops like EYH.”
Perl spoke at last month’s Grace Hopper Conference and utilized a series
of three- to five-minute micro-documentaries provided by The Futures
Channel. The films feature successful women discussing how they apply
mathematics and science in their careers.
Some of the women documented include, New York architect Frances
Halsband, whose team designed a new entrance to Penn Station; the work
of Beth Richards, an engineer working in photovoltaics at a U.S. Energy
Lab; Tracy Frankel, a sports photographer who speaks of images captured
in fractions of a second; entomologist Jan Dietrick who uses ratios,
statistics and biology in her work; renowned acoustician Elizabeth
Cohen, and Eileen Schnock, chief engineer at New York’s Department of
Environmental Protection, who is working 55 stories underground on a new
tunnel to bring water to New York City residents.
”I used the videos as an example to the audience of the kinds of
software that educators should use,” says Perl. ”These clips are
designed to answer students’ oft-asked question about subjects like math
and science — why do we need to learn this?”
Meantime, Perl continues to organize events. The Math/Science Network
celebrates its 30th anniversary at the Lawrence Hall of Science on
November 14, for example (details and an invitation are available at
Making a Difference
With such a wealth of well-supported activities addressing the
situation, and so many well-meaning individuals attempting to resolve
the issue, the hope is that more and more girls will be lured into
technical endeavors. While there is a long way to go, there also is
plenty of room for optimism. Noel points out, for instance, that when
she first attended IT conferences, she would be the only women in the
room. That doesn’t happen any more.
”I believe things are slowly getting better,” says Noel.
She notes that part of the problem is the perception that folks in IT
sit compiling code in an isolated room or fiddle with computers all day
long. That’s not an attractive proposition to the average teenage girl
thinking about her future. But IT is evolving beyond its ‘geeky’ origins
and business/communication skills are increasingly called for.
”That mix of problem solving, technical knowledge and interpersonal
interaction needs more emphasis if more women are to be attracted into
IT,” says Noel. ”In addition, we teach technology as a means of
Once you’ve become a certified director and crafted a great CV, your next step is to put yourself out there and look for board positions.
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Boards now want members from less ‘traditional’ backgrounds
With scrutiny of public company leadership increasing, corporations are feeling the pressure to get one step ahead of criticism by examining and adjusting the composition of their boards.
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Read more: 40% of FTSE boards should be women
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