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Anyone at all familiar with social media is familiar with the ongoing turmoil at Twitter ever since the company was acquired by peripatetic tech entrepreneur Elon Musk.
That turmoil may be reaching an inflection point, however, as reports emerged late yesterday of a lockout affecting all of Twitter’s offices.
The lockout appears to be tied to an email reportedly sent by Musk to all Twitter employees, encouraging them to either commit to the new Twitter culture as envisioned by Musk or resign.
Twitter's remaining workforce had until 5 p.m. ET on Thursday to decide whether they wanted to be a part of the culture Musk wants to implement at the social media company, or else effectively resign, according to an email he sent to staff Wednesday.
Reportedly, nearly half of Twitter staff are choosing to depart the company.
In a poll on the workplace app Blind, which verifies employees through their work email addresses and allows them to share information anonymously, 42% of 180 people chose the answer for "Taking exit option, I'm free!"
If the exodus from Twitter is indeed that great, there is a considerable probability the platform will suffer, as the operational and developmental staffs would no longer be adequate to maintain the infrastructure.
The departures include many engineers responsible for fixing bugs and preventing service outages, raising questions about the stability of the platform amid the loss of employees.
On Thursday evening, the version of the Twitter app used by employees began slowing down, according to one source familiar with the matter, who estimated that the public version of Twitter was at risk of breaking during the night.
"If it does break, there is no one left to fix things in many areas," the person said, who declined to be named for fear of retribution.
Reports of Twitter outages rose sharply from less than 50 to about 350 reports on Thursday evening, according to website Downdetector, which tracks website and app outages.
A mass exodus of employees from Twitter would almost certainly doom the company, and the platform.
Perversely, Twitter’s potential implosion would almost certainly be beneficial for advocates of free speech online. Twitter has long been infamous for its heavy-handed censorship of dissenting content and commentary on its platform.
(Side note: the links to each of these alternative platforms leads to my profile on those platforms)
If Twitter employees stage a mass walkout and effectively crash the Twitter platform, the advocates of Big Tech censorship are the ones who will be silenced, while those who advocate for free speech online (and everywhere else in the United States) will still have platforms upon which to share their ideas.
Big Tech could be on the verge of being not quite so big. That would be a very good thing, in my not very humble opinion.
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