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Musk Claims He Let Go of the Engineer Who Pointed Out His Twitter Error
Since Elon Musk took over, Twitter has experienced thousands of layoffs, departures, and resignations; however, one of the most recent personnel changes appears to have been motivated by personal reasons. The company’s new CEO tweeted that Eric Frohnhoefer, a worker who had engaged in a public argument with him on the platform, had been fired.
The controversy began on Sunday when Musk tweeted an apology for Twitter’s slow performance in “many countries” and a claim that the app makes over 1,000 “poorly batched” remote procedure calls to load the home timeline.
In other words, Musk claimed that the app must contact other servers numerous times and wait for each request to be answered. Frohnhoefer, who claimed to have worked on Twitter for Android for six years, quoted Musk’s claim and refuted it on Twitter. Frohnhoefer really went on to explain why he thought his boss’s tweet was inaccurate, unlike other times when Musk has done the same thing in response to news items about his firms.
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!
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 13, 2022
Frohnhoefer claims that Twitter actually doesn’t make any remote procedure calls or RPCs. Instead, he claims, the program makes about 20 background requests during startup. Musk immediately responded, seemingly clarifying his initial tweet, “The fact that you don’t aware that there are up to 1200’microservices being called every time someone uses the Twitter app is not ideal.” The number needed to construct the home timeline, according to Frohnhoefer, is closer to 200 than 1200.
The exchange between Musk and Frohnhoefer is disorganized, taking place over numerous threads and hours (which Twitter ironically makes difficult to see and follow). Though keep in mind that the conversation began with Musk’s apologies for it being slow in “many countries,” not just Android, at one point Musk asked Frohnhoefer what he had personally done to solve Twitter being slow on Android.
But after a discussion on whether Frohnhoefer ought to have raised his issues with the original tweet in private on Slack rather than publicly calling Musk out, Musk gave what appeared to be his final statement on the matter. Following a developer’s tweet suggesting that Musk should have inquired about the slowness concerns privately, to which Musk responded, “He’s fired,” a poster on the thread speculated that Frohnhoefer is not someone that Musk would want on his team.
“Another engineer, Ben Leib, was also fired after calling out Musk .. writing, .. ‘I can confidently say that this man has no idea wtf he’s talking about.’”
— Carl Quintanilla (@carlquintanilla) November 15, 2022
Frohnhoefer didn’t immediately respond to The Verge’s request for comment regarding whether he had heard anything other than Musk’s tweet or had been contacted by Twitter’s HR department. (It’s important to note that your DMs, emails, and mentions will typically become a mess if you have a public argument with Musk.) He admitted to Forbes that it took Twitter roughly five hours to unlock his company computer, but he said he hadn’t received any official word from the business concerning his termination.
Since Twitter no longer has a communications division, we have also tweeted @ Musk for a response. Fellow people, including other Twitter employees, have criticized Musk for his comment. “You did not just lay off practically all of infra and then make some nasty remark about how we do batch,” tweeted Sasha Solomon, who describes herself as a Twitter tech executive. She also charged Musk with being ignorant of both the inner workings of GraphQL and Twitter’s infrastructure.
Solomon tweeted “haha just got fired for shitposting” on Monday night. Whether Musk fired her personally isn’t mentioned in her thread, and unlike Frohnhoefer, it doesn’t seem like he responded to her tweets criticizing him. Observers from outside the company have questioned the tweet as well. Musk claims he learned about the RPCs from a number of engineers at Twitter and said that “the ex-employee is wrong.”
It wouldn’t be the first time Musk was mistaken about how Twitter works. On Sunday, he tweeted that the website is the “largest click driver on the Internet by far.” Considering how dominant Google and Facebook are, this claim was quickly refuted by practically everyone who manages a website. Birdwatch, a tool on Twitter that enables you to correct incorrect information on the platform, was also utilized by individuals to correct Musk.
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(It was apparently not the first time he had been Birdwatched; his tweet on the cost of insulin also had a correction comment.) Later, he removed the tweet. Regarding the consequences of the argument, Musk has declared that, for the sake of performance, at least one feature—the labels indicating which device or app a tweet was posted from—will be removed. Musk has not yet responded to Frohnhoefer’s other performance-enhancing recommendations, which include removing pointless features and overhauling sluggish processes.
Frohnhoefer himself has stated that confronting Musk in that manner was “absolutely dumb,” but he doesn’t appear overly concerned about losing his job. He’s already been urged to submit applications for positions with other businesses.