Twitter has seen thousands of firings, departures and firings since Elon Musk took over, but one of the latest personnel changes appears to have been personal — the company’s new CEO tweeted that Eric Frohnhoefer, an employee who had publicly argued with him at the platform , had been fired.
The saga began on Sunday, when Musk tweeted an apology for Twitter being slow in “many countries” and implying the poor performance is because the app makes over 1,000 “poorly grouped” remote procedure calls to load the home timeline – basically saying the app needs to reach to other servers a number of times and waits for a response for each request. Frohhnhoefer, who tweeted that he spent six years working on Twitter for Android quote retweeted Musk’s statement saying it was incorrect. Musk has done the same several times in response to news reports about his companiesbut unlike those cases, Frohnhoefer actually gave an explanation for why he thought his boss’s tweet was incorrect.
According to Frohnhoefer, Twitter actually makes zero external procedure calls, or RPCs. Instead, he says, the app makes about 20 background requests on launch. Seemingly to clarify his original tweet, Musk then responded, “Not realizing that 1200 ‘microservices’ are being called when someone uses the Twitter app is not nice.” Frohnhoefer again disagreed, tweet that the “number required to generate the home timeline is closer to 200 than 1200.”
The conversation between Musk and Frohnhoefer is messy, spanning many threads and hours (including Twitter ironically makes it difficult to see and follow). On a certain moment, asked Musk Frohnhoefer what he personally did to make sure Twitter was slow on Android – but remember, the conversation started with Musk’s apology that it was slow in “many countries” – not on Android. But Musk’s seemingly final word on the matter came in response to a discussion about whether Frohnhoefer should have voiced his concerns about the original tweet privately on Slack rather than publicly calling out Musk. A commenter in the thread said Musk probably doesn’t want Frohnhoefer on his team after the developer tweeted that Musk should have asked private questions about the slowness issues, which Musk replied“He has been fired.”
Frohnhoefer did not respond immediately The edge‘s request for comment on whether he had been contacted by Twitter’s HR team or heard anything other than Musk’s tweet. (It’s worth noting that if you have a public falling out with Musk, your DMs, email, and mentions generally become a mess.) He told Forbes that it took Twitter about five hours deny him access to his company computerbut that he had not heard any formal information about his resignation from the company.
We also tweeted to Musk for comment, as Twitter no longer has a communications department.
Musk has received feedback from others about his tweet, including from other Twitter employees. Sasha Solomon, who identifies herself as a Twitter technical lead, quote retweeted it, saying, “You didn’t just fire almost all of the infra and then make a cheeky comment about how we do batching.” She also accused Musk of not learning how GraphQL works and not knowing how Twitter’s infrastructure works.
on monday night, Solomon tweeted “lol just got fired for shitposting.” Her thread doesn’t mention if she was fired directly by Musk, and neither did he seems to have responded to her tweets criticize him as he did with Frohnhoefer.
If Musk was indeed wrong about how Twitter works, it wouldn’t be the first time. On Sunday, he tweeted that the site is by far the biggest click driver on the internet, a statement immediately echoed by almost anyone who owns a website and knows how powerful it is. Google and Facebook to be. Twitter users also used Birdwatch, a feature that lets you point out misinformation on the site right Musk. (It wasn’t the first time he’d been Birdwatched either – there’s also a correction note below his tweet about the price of insulin.) He later deleted the tweet.
As for the fallout from the feud, Musk has announced that at least one feature, the labels indicating which device or app a tweet was posted from will be removed in the name of achievement. So far, Musk has not responded the other suggestions Frohnhoefer made about improving performance, including reducing unnecessary features and reworking systems that hold the app back.
As for Frohnhoefer himself, he tweeted that it was “absolutely stupid” to confront Musk the way he did, though he doesn’t seem too concerned about being fired. He is already encouraged to apply in front of jobs at other companies.
Update Nov. 14, 7:13 PM ET: Added information about Frohnhoefer not being contacted by Twitter’s HR team since his firing.
Update Nov. 14, 7:51 PM ET: Added news that another person who had criticized Musk was fired.