Elon Musk Begins Mass Lay-Offs At Twitter

Twitless - twitter down © Fotolia

Mass layoffs begin Friday morning, amid speculation Elon Musk will axe at least half of platform’s 7,000 strong workforce

Twitter staff will find out today whether they still have a job in the run up to Christmas, as mass layoffs at the platform begin.

The company emailed staff on Thursday, informing them they will discover at 9am PST (4pm GMT) on Friday whether they still have a job.

All staff will receive an email on Friday, the email said. Those that will keep their jobs will get an email to their work email account, but those being laid off will receive an email entitled “Your Role at Twitter” to their personal email address.

Mass lay-offs

The first official communication to Twitter staff about the lay-offs was published on Twitter, by Washington Post journalist Will Oremus.

“In an effort to place Twitter on a healthy path, we will go through the difficult process of reducing our global workforce on Friday,” said the email. “We recognise this will impact a number of individuals who have made valuable contributions to Twitter, but this action is unfortunately necessary to sure the company’s success moving forward.”

Twitter said in the email to employees that its offices will be temporarily closed and all badge access will be suspended in order “to help ensure the safety of each employee as well as Twitter systems and customer data”.

Closing corporate offices and suspending all access to buildings indicates that Elon Musk is going to be shedding a huge number of the workforce.

Reuters reported that Twitter’s office in Piccadilly Circus, London, appeared deserted on Friday, with no staff in sight.

And staff were reminded not to disclose “confidential company information” on social media or with the press.

“We acknowledge this is an incredibly challenging experience to go through, whether or not you are impact,” said Twitter. “Thank you for continuing to adhere to Twitter policies that prohibit you from discussing confidential company information on social media, with the press or elsewhere.”

Reuters also reported that a class action lawsuit was filed on Thursday against Twitter by its employees, who argued the company was conducting mass layoffs without providing the required 60-day advance notice, in violation of federal and California law.

The lawsuit also reportedly asked the San Francisco federal court to issue an order to restrict Twitter from soliciting employees being laid off to sign documents without informing them of the pendency of the case.

Demoralised staff

Staff at Twitter have reportedly been demoralised for months at the prospect of Elon Musk taking over, and rumours of large scale job losses.

Image credit: Elon Musk

Staff has already been rocked after Musk dissolved Twitter’s board of directors, fired senior management at the firm, coupled with an exodus of leading executives from the platform.

Shortly before he closed the deal, Musk reportedly told investors that he planned to axe 75 percent of Twitter’s 7,500 employees, which if true would shrink the workforce to just over 2,000 staffers.

However when Musk visited Twitter HQ last week, he told Twitter staff that he didn’t plan to cut 75 percent of staff when he takes over.

Then the Washington Post reported on Monday this week that Musk plans to let go about one-quarter of Twitter’s workforce in a first round of layoffs, meaning the layoffs could amount to nearly 2,000 people.

On Wednesday Bloomberg and the Verge reported that Musk planned to eliminate about 3,700 to 3,800 jobs at Twitter, or half of the social media company’s workforce, in a bid to drive down costs following his $44 billion acquisition, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The mass lay-offs at the influential social media platform is causing concern about potential misinformation campaigns just days before midterm elections in the US.

The fear is this could have grave consequences, as the platform already struggles with content moderation and will now have fewer resources.

“With the horrific attack on Paul Pelosi, we only just witnessed how social media conspiracy theories can result in real-world violence, yet Musk is dangerously speed-running through this process,” Sacha Haworth, executive director at the Tech Oversight Project was quoted by Reuters as saying.