Elon Musk values Twitter at $20bn in staff email

27 Mar 2023

Elon Musk. Image: Thomas Hawk (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Musk reportedly said he can see a ‘clear, but difficult’ path to bring Twitter’s valuation to more than $250bn, while the platform’s source code was recently leaked to GitHub.

Elon Musk has reportedly valued Twitter at less than half of the amount he bought it for last year, according to an email seen by multiple media outlets.

In a leaked email, the chief twit told employees that they would receive stock awards based on a $20bn valuation. Musk bought Twitter for $44bn last October.

In the email – which was seen by the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times – Musk also said he could see a “clear, but difficult” path to a valuation of more than $250bn for the platform.

He added that the company is changing rapidly and could be seen as an “inverse start-up” as a result of these changes.

The social media platform has had a chaotic period since Musk took over, with multiple rounds of staff cuts and drastic changes on the site. It is estimated the company currently has less than 2,000 staff, compared to a figure of 7,500 last year.

Twitter has also experienced a couple of global outages in recent months, prompting fears that there are not enough staff to manage issues on the platform. This concern was reportedly raised by staff last November.

Last year, Musk criticised Twitter’s verification policy and indicated he was going to change it. He proposed charging a fee for verification, which was met with condemnation from many high-profile Twitter users and brands.

The initial attempt to change this policy led to users impersonating brands and people, which caused a period of chaos for the site and reportedly impacted advertiser’s views of the platform.

Despite this setback, Musk is still pushing ahead with removing legacy verified checkmarks at the start of April.

Source code leaked

Meanwhile, Twitter claims that parts of its source code was leaked to GitHub, the Microsoft-owned code repository site.

A user identified as ‘FreeSpeechEnthusiast’ shared parts of the source code to the site without Twitter’s permission, according to court filings seen by The New York Times.

This filing also alleged that the account had infringed on copyrights owned by Twitter. GitHub has shared the DMCA takedown request publicly

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Elon Musk. Image: Thomas Hawk via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic