Twitter: Elon Musk’s ultimatum triggers a new wave of layoffs


Hundreds of Twitter employees are expected to leave the beleaguered social media company following an ultimatum from new owner Elon Musk that staff report to “long, high-intensity hours” or leave.

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In a poll on workplace app Blind, which verifies employees through their work email addresses and lets them share information anonymously, 42% of 180 people chose the answer for “Take the exit option, I’m free!”

A quarter said they had chosen to stay “reluctantly”, and only 7% of survey participants said they “clicked yes to stay, I’m tough.

Musk met with some top employees to try to convince them to stay, said a current employee and a recently departed employee who are in touch with Twitter colleagues.

While it’s unclear how many employees have chosen to stay, the numbers show some employees are reluctant to stay at a company where Musk has rushed to fire half of his employees, including top management, and is ruthlessly changing the culture to emphasize long-term working hours and an intense pace.

The company notified employees that it will close its offices and reduce access to the brand until Monday, according to two sources. Security officials have started kicking employees out of the office on Thursday night, a source said.

Twitter, which has lost many of its communications team members, did not respond to a request for comment.

The departures include many engineers responsible for fixing bugs and preventing service interruptions, raising questions about the platform’s stability amid the loss of employees.

On Thursday night, the version of the Twitter app used by employees began to slow down, according to a source familiar with the matter, who estimated that the public version of

Twitter was in danger of breaking overnight.

“If it breaks, there’s no one left to fix things in many areas,” said the person, who declined to be named for fear of retribution.

Reports of Twitter outages spiked from less than 50 to about 350 reports Thursday night, according to the website Down Detector, which tracks web and app outages.

In a private chat on Signal with about 50 Twitter employees, nearly 40 said they had decided to leave, according to the former employee.

And in a private Slack group for Twitter’s current and former employees, about 360 people joined a new channel titled “voluntary redundancy,” a person with knowledge of the Slack group said.

A separate survey on Blind asked staff to estimate the percentage of people who would leave Twitter based on their perception. More than half of respondents estimated that at least 50% of employees would quit.

Blue hearts and greeting emojis flooded Twitter and its internal chat rooms on Thursday, the second time in two weeks that Twitter employees said goodbye.

By 6 p.m. Eastern, over two dozen Twitter employees across the United States and Europe had announced their departures in public Twitter posts reviewed by Reuters, although each departure could not be independently verified.

Early on Wednesday, Musk had emailed Twitter employees, saying: “To build a breakthrough for Twitter 2.0 and succeed in an increasingly competitive world, we will need to be extremely tough”.

In the email, staff were asked to click “yes” if they wanted to stay. Those who did not respond by 5 p.m. Eastern Time on Thursday would be considered to have quit and given severance pay, the email said.

As the deadline approached, employees scrambled to figure out what to do.

A team within Twitter decided to take the plunge together and leave the company, a departing employee told Reuters.

Notable departures include Tess Rinearson, who was tasked with building a cryptocurrency team at Twitter. Rinearson tweeted the blue heart greeting emojis.

In an apparent jab at Musk’s call for employees to be “hardcore,” the Twitter profile bios of several departing engineers on Thursday described themselves as “softcore engineers” or “ex-hardcore engineers.”

As the layoffs rolled in, Musk made a joke on Twitter.

“How to Make a Small Fortune on Social Media?” he tweeted. “Start with a big one.”

(REUTERS)

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