Twitter Management Team Dismissals Already Impacting Company Operations, Value
Well, Elon Musk didn’t fire 75% of Twitter employees as was predicted last week by several sources, but he did let go of about 50% of the staff at Twitter’s San Francisco HQ. Some of the first people to receive the dreaded email that notified them of their release came from the ethics department.
So far, as part of an aggressive plan to trim costs involving firing thousands of Twitter employees, Musk’s management team cut a team of AI researchers working to make Twitter’s algorithms more transparent and fair. Another objectionable part about the Musk takeover is that he got rid of the very people he needs the most. Teams were put together to monitor content. Teams that learned how to work smoothly as possible with each other. Gone now.
Rumman Chowdhury, director of the ML Ethics, Transparency, and Accountability (META—no, not that one) team at Twitter, tweeted that she had been let go as part of mass layoffs implemented by new management—although it hardly seemed that she was relishing the idea of working under Musk.
While the shake-up at Twitter was widely advertised, it appears Musk was right when he mused last year that some of Twitter’s algorithms were really out of whack. Some are actually displaying race and gender bias in their operations—and that’s where Twitter had one of the better teams working on those biases.
Twitter’s META unit was more progressive than most in publishing details of problems with the company’s AI systems, and in allowing outside researchers to probe its algorithms for new issues.
Sadly, that team and its work has come to a screeching halt.
Mark Riedl, a professor studying AI at Georgia Tech, says the algorithms that Twitter and other social media giants use have a huge impact on people’s lives and need to be studied.
“Whether META had any impact inside Twitter is hard to discern from the outside, but the promise was there,” he says.
Now the world just takes a breath and waits to see what Mr. Musk has in mind for his $44 Billion investment. It seems clear the ripples of this acquisition will spread throughout the social media industry. It remains to be seen how much Mr. Musk can disrupt the Twitterverse before it collapses in upon itself.
read more at wired.com