Civil rights and other advocacy groups slammed Twitter owner Elon Musk on Friday, warning that his mass layoffs at the company could hinder the safety and integrity of platform reporting for Tuesday's midterm elections.
On Friday, amid reports that Musk would be laying off a substantial percentage of the Twitter workforce, company employees were instructed to learn about their job fate at approximately 9 a.m. Pacific, or noon Eastern Time.
The employees who would remain with Twitter were reportedly sent a company email. And for those leaving, an email would be sent to their personal accounts.
This reporting prompted an uproar from Twitter employees, Big Tech companies, and other advocacy groups, many of whom called upon Twitter advertisers to pause or drop their corporate sponsorships altogether.
Musk — who closed on his $44 billion purchase of Twitter in late October — reportedly met with organizational leaders this week about the new direction of the social media platform.
Color of Change President Rashad Robinson initially said that Musk seemed "genuine and sincere" during the meetings with leaders.
However, Robinson also implied that corporate pressure would increase, if any supposed commitments from Musk were broken.
"We were clear that actions speak louder than words, and here we are with his actions that are much louder and much more consequential than anything he said at the meeting," said Robinson.
All told, The Hill reports that more than 60 civil groups have begun pressuring Twitter's corporate advertisers.
"[Advertisers] need to drop Twitter and Elon Musk needs to demonstrate and earn that trust back and earn that business back," said Angelo Carusone, president of the watchdog group Media Matters, according to The Hill.
On Friday, Musk pushed back against the pressure campaign, tweeting out that "nothing has changed with content moderation and we did everything we could to appease the activists."
In that same Tweet, Musk wrote: "Extremely messed up! They’re trying to destroy free speech in America."
Musk, who's also the founder and CEO of SpaceX, has his share of Twitter supporters, regarding the mass layoffs and shift toward advancing free speech on the platform.
One Tweet, from the account of @gosuprime21 sarcastically reads: "the guy with the self landing rockets will do a worse job with a tech related project than the [workers] in San Francisco."
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