Elon Musk once again at the center of controversy. This time the owner of Twitter ended up in the storm for publicly mocking a former employee, joking about his disability. The case became public when Haraldur Thorleifsson, a Twitter manager based in Iceland, confessed on social media that he had not known for nine days whether he had been fired or not, that is, if he had been included in the list of two hundred people sent away.
The person in charge he had contacted had not responded. For this reason, the Icelandic manager, through his 'Halli' account, followed by more than 130 thousand people, asked Musk for information directly. The billionaire replied, first asking him what he was doing. To the response of 'Halli', who listed his tasks, Musk responded by questioning his claims.
Then, in another tweet, the billionaire insulted the former employee: "Actually this guy didn't really work, as an excuse he said he had a disability that didn't allow him to write." "And I don't have much respect for him," she added. The manager responded, making public his health condition: for twenty years he has been suffering from muscular dystrophy, a degenerative disease that has forced him to a wheelchair, and when he writes for two hours then he has to stop because he gets cramps in his hands. To confirm what he has just told, Haraldur Thorleifsson also published a photo of himself and told other side effects of his illness - which however does not prevent him from working, as in fact he did for Twitter.
Thorleifsson is not only a former employee who responded brilliantly to the bullying of one of the richest men in the world, but he is himself a character who enjoys a certain notoriety: after founding a creative company, then sold to Twitter in 2021, the Icelander received recognition from the United Nations and the presidency of Iceland for leading a non-profit that built a thousand access ramps to Reykjavik, to facilitate the mobility of wheelchair users.
"I can write for an hour or two," he added, "but that wasn't a problem with Twitter, as my job was largely to help the teams get the job done, giving them strategic and tactical advice." The posts written on the social network, he explained, were possible because he used his mobile phone, where he only needed to use one finger.
Musk was showered with insults by thousands of followers, who expressed their anger and disappointment at the billionaire's discriminatory and "bullying" attitude. It's not the first time Musk has made fun of former employees venting on Twitter. One of these had been defined by him as a "tragic case of an adult suffering from Tourette", a reference to the syndrome that leads those affected to repeated and uncontrollable movements.
This injury could result in a further flight of advertisers who, since Musk acquired Twitter, have frozen their advertising campaigns on the platform. The hateful and discriminatory messages launched by Musk are proving to be a boomerang, also because Twitter continues to register technical problems.
On Monday, for the third time in less than a month, thousands of users struggled to access their accounts. The blackouts come after the billionaire cut staff, including those in charge of the platform's security, reducing it from 7500 to less than 2 thousand.
And the issue of redundancies is also worrying the American authorities and the European institutions. The Federal Trade Commission - according to the Wall Street Journal - asked Twitter to "hand over internal communications related to Elon Musk and those with information about layoffs". "We are concerned about the impact of staff reductions and Twitter's ability to protect consumer information," they said in a statement.
Brussels instead - according to the Financial Times - would have asked the billionaire to hire "more human beings as moderators or fact-checkers to moderate content on the platform". Twitter currently uses artificial intelligence alongside human personnel to accomplish this task.