We Just Watched Elon Musk Fire A Developer Via Tweet

As the recent layoffs at Twitter β€” and less recent layoffs at Tesla β€” have shown us, Elon Musk isn't afraid to put someone out of a job. One of Musk's more high-profile actions after taking the reins at Twitter involved firing several high-profile members of the company's board "for cause." The board members weren't the only people forced to exit Twitter following the takeover, with Musk laying off around half of the company's workforce shortly afterward. Entire departments were dissolved as cuts were made and surviving employees were shifted around during a major restructuring operation. However, some of those layoffs may have been premature, with the company allegedly asking several employees to come back after it emerged they were more necessary for the day-to-day running of the company than the managers responsible for making the cuts anticipated.

Musk claimed the layoffs were necessary due to the amount of money the company was losing and would have likely happened anyway. This claim was backed up to some degree by former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, who took responsibility for the cuts and claims to have grown "the company's size too quickly." Although the exact criteria managers used when deciding who got to stay and who ultimately left isn't known, it's safe to assume most of the remaining employees were regarded as having more to offer the company than their former colleagues did. But surviving the cuts doesn't mean an employee is safe, as one engineer has recently found out. The apparently former Twitter employee was publicly fired after engaging in a Twitter debate with Musk.

The debate centered around Twitter's Android app

The tussle with the apparently former Twitter employee started when Musk posted a tweet about the app's performance in some localities, stating "Btw, I'd like to apologize for Twitter being super slow in many countries. App is doing >1000 poorly batched RPCs just to render a home timeline!" One of Twitter's Android developers, Eric Frohnhoefer, disagreed, saying he had spent six years working on the app and Musk's statement was wrong.

Frohnhoefer went on to clarify the app doesn't actually make any RPC calls and delays are caused by the time it takes to interact with Twitter's United States-based servers, rather than RPCs being built into the app itself. After some back and forth, Musk directly confronted the engineer on what he had done to improve the app during his time at the company. Frohnhoefer gave a detailed response citing issues he had helped fix, problems he saw with the app, and possible solutions. Musk's eventual response was less constructive.

Musk fired an employee with a tweet following an argument

Earlier today, Musk appeared to publicly fire an employee after having a heated discussion about the inner working and performance of the company's Android app. While responding to a message from another user who was claiming he wouldn't have an employee with Frohnhoefer's attitude on his team, Musk simply stated: "he's fired."

Musk also used the term "ex-employee" to refer to Frohnhoefer in a later tweet, where he also claimed the Android developer was wrong and several Twitter engineers had "independently confirmed" that around 1,200 RPCs were slowing down Twitter's app.

For a while, it was unclear if the developer had actually been fired or if Musk was just joking.Β Frohnhoefer tweeted yesterday stating that he was technically "still employed" by the company. The developer's bio continued to contain the phrase "still @ Twitter," though it did also state that he is open to other opportunities. Then, shortly before 6 PM Eastern Time on November 14, the employee seemingly confirmed his dismissal had happened. Although Frohnoefer's time at Twitter has apparently come to an end, the very public nature of his dismissal is likely to leave him with a few options.

Frohnhoefer will likely be fine

Musk's takeover, and the actions he has taken since then, have been quite divisive. That division isn't only present among Twitter's userbase – large companies are also monitoring the situation and voting with their substantial wallets. The public debate with an employee, and equally public firing of said employee, is no different. As you may expect, Frohnhoefer has received a reasonable number of job offers in the last few hours. The offers range from other engineers at websites like Reddit pointing out that their companies are looking for experienced developers at the moment to interest from people who actually make hiring decisions. Frohnhoefer retweeted one job proposal from a developer at Square for restaurants and has alluded to Uber being interested in his services. The developer also took a jab at Musk and how he handled the situation in the tweet's replies.

The former Twitter engineer also confirmed he has gotten "more LinkedIn messages from recruiters in the past 2 hrs than all week." He may not follow up on those offers immediately though, as a separate tweet seems to insinuate he would like to take a little time off. Finding a job may not be as easy for other former Twitter employees, as the blue bird isn't the only tech giant struggling at the moment. Other major companies have imposed hiring freezes and begun laying off large numbers of staff as tech stocks continue to plummet. Amazon is trimming its numbers as experts forecast a drop in holiday spending this year, and Meta founder Mark Zuckerberg took the blame for his company's recent layoffs, claiming to have over-invested under the assumption the boom caused by the 2020 pandemic would continue.