Twitter CEO Elon Musk has called a former company software engineer a “jerk” during a heated dispute over the mogul’s push to revamp the social media app.
Musk said Twitter would have to do a “total rewrite of everything” if it wanted to be “really high speed” during a Twitter Spaces voice chat hosted by George Hotz on Wednesday.
The comment prompted a response from Netflix developer Ian Brown, who worked at Twitter for eight years before leaving the company in October 2021.
“Wait, seriously, total rewrite? Is that your speed prediction? Brown said.
“Yeah,” Musk replied.
“Ok, when you say total rewrite, do you mean starting with the skeleton?” asked noted hacker Hotz, who left Twitter today. “Or a bunch of engineers sit down with a whiteboard and say, ‘What is Twitter?’ Revolution or Reform?
Brown responded with a “hysterical laughing” emoji, which appeared briefly on his avatar as part of the feature that allows Twitter Spaces participants to speak while someone else is speaking.
Musk replied that “you either have to modify the crazy pile that exists or rewrite it.”
Brown chimed in once again, asking Musk what he really meant and if he could “break it down.”
“Who are you?!” Kasturi asked excitedly.
“What do you mean who am I? I don’t know! You gave me the fucking microphone!” Brown said.
Hotz then took note, noting that he had given Brown a chance to speak and called for the conversation to be “more civil”.
“I mean, man, you’re in charge of the servers and the programming and everything,” Brown continued.
“What’s the battery, Elon?” take me up and down What does the stack look like now? What’s crazy about that? What’s so unusual about this heap compared to every other large-scale system on the planet, mate? Come on!”
“Amazing! You’re the worst!” Musk replied.
“Haha okay! I have no credibility here, mate,” replied Brown.
Hotz then chop brown.
“Good! What a fool,” Musk said.
The Post has sought comment from Brown. Musk, who fired his media relations team in late October after Twitter took over following its $44 billion acquisition, could not immediately be reached for comment.
The controversy comes a day after Musk said he had fired half of Twitter’s staff and cut costs to save the company from a $3 billion hole in its budget.
“That’s why I cut costs like crazy over the last five weeks,” Musk told Twitter users who logged into the Twitter Space voice chat on Tuesday night.
“This business is like, basically, you’re in a plane heading toward the ground at high speed with the engines on fire and the controls not working.”
Musk completed the $44 billion acquisition of Twitter in late October with the help of $13 billion in debt. The head of Twitter is responsible for interest payments of about $1.5 billion per year.
“If I hadn’t made any changes,” Musk said, “Twitter’s net cash outflow would have reached $6.5 billion next year.”
Earlier on Tuesday, Musk announced that he would eventually step down as CEO of Twitter once “somebody crazy enough” can be found to succeed him.
Musk vowed to follow up on the results of a Twitter poll in which he asked his more than 122 million followers whether he should continue as CEO. Nearly 58% of the 17 million respondents voted for Musk to resign.