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Elon Musk got into an argument with an engineer, then publicly fired him

Musk warns Twitter of difficult times ahead
Musk warns Twitter employees of difficult times ahead, imposes drastic changes 04:30

Less than a week after laying off thousands of Twitter employees, new owner Elon Musk is firing staffers who disagree with him — sometimes publicly.

On Monday, Musk tweeted that he fired an engineer at the company who had publicly disagreed with him about the Twitter app.

Musk had tweeted an apology for the app being "super slow" in some countries, to which engineer Eric Frohnhoefer replied, saying, "I have spent ~6yrs working on Twitter for Android and can say this is wrong."

Musk then challenged Frohnhoefer, saying, "Twitter is super slow on Android. What have you done to fix that?" 

Frohnhoefer replied with a detailed thread about changes he had made to improve the app, and suggested deleting some features to speed up loading time.

The exchange was met with incredulity from Twitter users that a CEO and staffer would argue publicly about a product feature. Shortly after, Musk tweeted, "He's fired." 

Frohnhoefer responded with a salute emoji, later tweeting a photograph of a locked laptop screen.

Frohnhoefer didn't immediately respond to a request from CBS MoneyWatch for comment.

Frohnhoefer appears to be the first of several outspoken employees to get the ax. On Tuesday, tech publication Platformer reported that 20 engineers who had criticized Musk in internal Slack channels had been fired via email.

"We regret to inform you that your employment is terminated effective immediately. Your recent behavior has violated company policy," now-former workers were told via email, according to screenshots posted on Twitter.

On Tuesday, Musk deleted the tweet in which he fires Frohnhoefer, but it remains unclear if that revokes his termination. He also tweeted a mocking reply to reports of the fired engineers.

"I would like to apologize for firing these geniuses. Their immense talent will no doubt be of great use elsewhere," Musk said.

Twitter's media relations team, which has been disbanded, according to multiple media reports, did not respond to a request for comment. 

Since Musk took ownership of Twitter, he has lauched, then paused, a plan to open its blue-check verification system to anyone paying $8 a month, which led to a free-for-all of impersonators on the platform. Several large advertisers have fled the platform over concerns about moderation and hate speech. After Tuesday's firings, some users wondered how long a company could keep running after eviscerating its staff.

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