I got fired from Twitter the day before Thanksgiving. I was pro-Musk but it didn't save me.




This illustration photo taken on August 5, 2022 shows a cellphone displaying a photo of Elon Musk placed on a computer monitor filled with Twitter logos.
This illustration photo taken on August 5, 2022 shows a cellphone displaying a photo of Elon Musk placed on a computer monitor filled with Twitter logos.  
  • Engineer Ikuhiro Ihara was fired from Twitter the night before Thanksgiving.

  • The firing shocked Ihara, who supported Elon Musk's "Twitter 2.0" vision of "hardcore" working.

  • Ihara said he didn't hold a grudge but sympathized with ex-colleagues who now have visa issues.

This is an as-told-to based on a conversation with Ikuhiro Ihara, a 30-year-old Japanese machine-learning engineer who worked for Twitter and was fired the night before Thanksgiving. It has been edited for length and clarity.

It was the night before Thanksgiving when I received an email saying I was being let go.

I had PTO planned for the next day and was busy preparing for my next morning's flight when the email landed in my inbox.

Before I was fired, I was the tech lead for the Twitter home timeline modeling team. We are basically responsible for messing up your timeline by randomly reordering things and inserting tweets from someone you don't follow.

I also was among those who pushed to expand the number of characters in tweets to 280 - it was my side project.

I had no reason to expect such an abrupt termination. I thought I was well aligned with the new Twitter 2.0 vision.

When Musk took over Twitter, I was actually excited

I believed Twitter was - and may still be - on a path to a slow death. The company has been moving so slowly. I was always trapped in never-ending quarterly planning that took weeks. I felt like Twitter needed a shake-up and Elon Musk was our best option.

The return-to-office mandate was needed. The lack of hallway conversations and over-the-aisle knowledge sharing had become painful.

I'm a bit on the workaholic side, so the "hardcore" ultimatum did not upset me, and what Musk said in that email made a lot of sense to me.

The email I received on Wednesday night said I was fired for unsatisfactory code

It read: "As a result of the recent code review exercise it has been determined that your code is not satisfactory, and we regret to inform you that your employment with Twitter will be terminated effective immediately."

I still don't know what "code review" the email is referring to. I remember the morning after the mass "fork in the road" event Musk told us that he would hold 1:1 code reviews with each engineer. I initially was excited about this, but it never happened.

There was no time to meet each engineer. The "reviews" ended up being a team-wide presentation of what each team does - and it took Musk until midnight to make it to my team.

I've no idea what I could've done differently

I feel like I would have likely been fired sooner or later - at least that's the general consensus with the majority of my colleagues.

After speaking with others who were let go under different circumstances, I'm increasingly under the impression that the company under Musk is trying to replace the existing workforce with a cheaper and smaller team - like a total blood replacement.

I feel sorry for my colleagues who have problems with their visa statuses, but I am lucky because I have a green card. I also have some savings and, after tweeting about being fired, I've been flooded with exciting opportunities and invitations.

I have no grudges against Twitter or Musk.

I really wanted to witness how Musk will operate and change the course of Twitter 2.0, but I was just an employee. If the owner doesn't need my help, that's that.

Are you a current or ex-Twitter employee? Contact Sam Tabahriti from a non-work address at stabahriti@insider.com or by Twitter DM at @samtabahriti 

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