A number of former X Australian employees are being chased by the social media giant for up to $70,000 plus interest after it claimed they were overpaid entitlements due to a currency conversion error.

Elon Musk’s X, formerly Twitter, is threatening legal action against the employees if they do not repay the alleged overpayments, with the Sydney Morning Herald reporting that at least six former employees have been sent legal notices.

Some of these ex-employees were made redundant from X more than 18 months ago, and are being pursued for between $1,500 and $70,000 in overpayments.

X has claimed that these employees were paid more than they were owed under the company’s employee share scheme due to a mistake in converting the currency from USD to AUD, resulting in at least one case where an individual was paid 2.5 times more than they were owed.

X’s Asia-Pacific human resources department has emailed many of these former employees about the issue.

“It has come to our attention that you received a significant overpayment in error in January 2023,” the email said, cited by the Sydney Morning Herald.

“We would be grateful if you could arrange the repayments to us…at your earliest convenience.”

Further correspondence from the company also said that if the ex-employees do not repay the money, then X reserves the right to commence proceedings for the recovery of the overpayment “together with interest”.

None of the former staff have agreed to repay the money, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Currency conversion error

The payments relate to shares provided to the employees when they joined the company being paid out after they were made redundant.

The shares were valued at $82 ($US54.20) each, the price at which Musk purchased the company in 2022.

But currency conversion errors when determining how much employees were entitled to after being made redundant resulted in them being overpaid sometimes significant amounts of money, X said.

X is also reportedly trying to get its hands back on the company laptops of employees who were laid off more than a year ago.

After taking over the company formerly known as Twitter, Musk instigated large-scale lay-offs, making up to 80 per cent of its workforce redundant, including many employees in Australia.

Twitter Australia at one point had about 40 employees, but this number was drastically reduced following Musk’s takeover.

Early last year, it was reported that Twitter had begun the process of letting go the remaining Australian staff and shutting its local office.

It was later revealed that these layoffs involved large amounts of the company’s safety accounts, and coincided with the reinstatement of over 6,100 previously banned accounts in Australia.

Elon v Australia

Musk’s X has had its fair share of controversies in Australia since the takeover.

Last year, the eSafety Commissioner issued a $600,000 fine against X after it failed to answer questions about the prevention of child abuse material on its platform, which the social media giant has failed to pay.

The eSafety Commissioner also took X to Federal Court over its refusal to remove posts containing videos of the Wakeley church Sydney stabbing globally.

X agreed to geo-block these posts in Australia but declined to remove them in other jurisdictions.

Last week the eSafety Commissioner dropped this court action, saying it would instead fight X’s movement in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for the removal notice to be dismissed.

In response to the dropped court action, X said it was a win for “freedom of speech”.