It does not pay to be blatantly rude to your new boss in public, and that’s a great rule to follow even if you don’t work for Twitter and are/were employed by Elon Musk.
That’s exactly what Eric Frohnhoefer, now formerly employed by the social media giant, did when he openly contradicted Musk on the Twitter platform itself. In no time flat, Musk’s account showed “he’s fired,” and Frohnhoefer confirmed that the tweet was legit.
The company had already experienced thousands of layoffs and employees leaving, though perhaps none so self-inflicted as in this case.
This particular incident began on Sunday when the new owner tweeted an apology for the platform being slow in several countries. Musk partially blamed the app having to connect with other servers by reaching out numerous times and the delay in getting a response to each request.
Guess it is official now. pic.twitter.com/5SRwotyD8J
— Eric Frohnhoefer @ 🏡 (@EricFrohnhoefer) November 14, 2022
Instead of expressing a private disagreement with his boss’ position, Frohnhoefer unwisely noted that he had six years of experience working with Twitter for Android. He retweeted Musk’s assertion and said that it was incorrect.
He then provided an explanation for why he felt Musk was inaccurate in his statement.
Musk responded that the fact that Frohnhoefer didn’t realize up to 1200 “microservices” are in play when the Twitter app is used is “not great.”
The employee refuted that statement as well, claiming the number is “closer to 200 than 1200.” The back-and-forth stretched on over many threads and several hours.
The culmination seemed to come when a commentator in the thread expressed that Frohnhoefer’s response to Musk’s original apology should have been private instead of in the public forum. The new owner tweeted shortly thereafter that “he’s fired.”
The former employee told The Verge that it was five hours later when Twitter blocked him from using his company computer. He said he’d not received formal notification about his job status.
As lessons go, the moral of this story is fairly obvious. It is never a great idea to call out your boss in public, barring some specific legal, ethical, or physical danger. Doing so when the ax has already fallen on thousands of your colleagues is an even worse course of action.