Twitter’s HR dumpster fire

We regret to inform you that Twitter drama has reached unfathomably silly new levels.

What happened: It all started when Halli Thorleifsson tweeted at Elon Musk to say that he (along with ~200 other Twitter employees) was locked out of his work computer and couldn’t confirm his employment status with HR. Musk responded, and the situation spiralled.

  • Thorleifsson was swiftly terminated while Musk tweeted a barrage of comments doubting his work, questioning his disability, and generally disparaging him.

That was a mistake. Turns out, Thorleifsson lives with muscular dystrophy, is a major philanthropist in Iceland, and is seemingly one of the nicest dudes in the world. That’s right, Musk called a guy voted as Iceland’s person of the year for 2022 “the worst.”

  • Musk apologized and offered Thorleifsson his job back—he’s reportedly considering it—but the whole situation is both a terrible look and a costly error.
  • Thorleifsson sold his startup to Twitter in 2021 and received a job instead of a lump sum. However, if he’s fired, Twitter will reportedly have to pay up big time. 

Why it matters: The tech layoff wave may make profit-seeking investors happy, but it comes with consequences—especially if laid-off workers include HR. In this case, Musk relying on hearsay to make firing decisions casts doubt on whether Twitter has a functioning HR team.

If it doesn’t, it may be difficult to right the ship. One survey found HR workers are avoiding Twitter like the plague. Nearly three-quarters said they wouldn’t take a job at the company.