Leaked email shows Musk threatened to sue Twitter employees who leak to media

Getty Images | Henrik Sorensen

A leaked email sent by Elon Musk to Twitter staff shows that he threatened to sue employees who leak confidential information to the media.

Musk’s emails and other internal communications have repeatedly been leaked to media outlets since he bought the company in late October. The leaked email about leaks said Twitter will aggressively enforce non-disclosure agreements going forward.

“As evidenced by the many detailed leaks of confidential Twitter information, a few people at our company continue to act in a manner contrary to the company’s interests and in violation of their NDA,” the Musk email said, according to a Twitter thread by journalist ZoĆ« Schiffer of tech news site Platformer.

“This will be said only once: If you clearly and deliberately violate the NDA that you signed when you joined, you accept liability to the full extent of the law & Twitter will immediately seek damages,” Musk wrote, according to Schiffer’s account posted Saturday . Schiffer wrote that she was “choosing not to post the actual email as it’s clear Twitter is doing everything it can to catch sources.”

According to Schiffer, the Musk email said that “occasional slipups are understandable ‘but breaking your word by sending detailed info to the media’ with the intent to harm Twitter ‘will receive the response it deserves.'”

Musk tells staff to sign another pledge

Musk also asked staff “to sign a pledge indicating they’ve understood” and gave them a deadline of Saturday at 5 pm, Schiffer wrote. The pledge requirement is similar to how Musk handled an earlier ultimatum demanding that employees agree to an “extremely hardcore” approach that involves “working long hours at high intensity.” In that previously leaked email, Musk ordered employees to sign the “hardcore” pledge or resign with three months of severance.

Twitter reportedly no longer has a public relations department, but a company source confirmed that Musk sent the email about NDA violations to Twitter staff, according to a report by Business Insider on Saturday.

One leak on Saturday showed that Twitter reduced the visibility of an account that tracks Musk’s private jet on December 2. Jack Sweeney, who runs the @ElonJet account, said today that the account’s visibility was restored after he published internal screenshots about the visibility filtering. “I think Twitter noticed my tweets and back tracked. Guilty in my book,” he wrote. Musk had previously written that his “commitment to free speech extends even to not banning the account following my plane, even though that is a direct personal safety risk.”

Musk authorized leaks of other information to reporters, giving Twitter’s new trust and safety chief Ella Irwin the light green to provide screenshots of user accounts flagged in internal content moderation systems. Journalist Bari Weiss published screenshots from Musk’s “Twitter Files” leak, alleging they show “Twitter’s secret blacklists” of conservative accounts. Musk pointed his followers to the “secret blacklists” thread last week in a tweet with two popcorn emojis.

“The Twitter Files on free speech suppression soon to be published on Twitter itself. The public deserves to know what really happened,” Musk wrote in late November before the first of several document releases. But even in conservative circles, some commentators put the actual details from Musk’s Twitter files with a shrug, describing them as underwhelming.

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