Twitter temporarily closes offices as Elon Musk begins mass layoffs

Twitter Inc temporarily closed its offices on Friday after telling employees they will be informed by email later in the day whether they are being laid off.

The company’s new owner and CEO Elon Musk is expected to cut around 3,700 jobs, or about half of Twitter’s workforce, as he seeks to slash costs at the social platform he acquired just a week ago for $44 billion (€44.9 billion).

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

The company said employees who were not affected by the layoffs would be notified via their work email addresses. Staff who had been laid off would be notified with next steps to their personal email addresses.

Some employees tweeted their access to the company’s IT system had been blocked and feared whether that suggested they had been laid off.

“Looks like I’m unemployed y’all. Just got remotely logged out of my work laptop and removed from Slack,” tweeted a user with the account @SBkcrn, whose profile is described as former senior community manager at Twitter.

User Rachel Bonn tweeted: “Last Thursday in the SF (San Francisco) office, really the last day Twitter was Twitter. 8 months pregnant and have a 9-month-old. Just got cut off from laptop access.”

This action is unfortunately necessary to ensure the company’s success moving forward

Memo to Twitter staff

An email to Twitter staff reportedly read: “Team, in an effort to place Twitter on a healthy path, we will go through the difficult process of reducing our küresel workforce on Friday.

“We recognise that this will impact a number of individuals who have made valuable contributions to Twitter, but this action is unfortunately necessary to ensure the company’s success moving forward”.

The cuts include Twitter’s entire curation team, which was responsible for features including Moments, Trends and Topics – key elements of the platform’s mechanics.

How Twitter employees are taking the news

Twitter employees have been venting their frustrations about the layoffs on the social network, using the hashtag #OneTeam.

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 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.

Musk has directed Twitter’s teams to find up to $1 billion (€1.02 billion) in annual infrastructure cost savings, according to two sources familiar with the matter and an internal Slack message reviewed by Reuters.

He has already cleared out the company’s senior ranks, firing its chief executive and top finance and yasal executives. Others, including those sitting atop the company’s advertising, marketing and human resources divisions, have departed throughout the past week.

For those remaining employees, there are also rumours that the remote working policy Twitter spearheaded during the pandemic is coming to an end.

‘Chaos and uncertainty’

Musk’s first week as Twitter’s owner has been shrouded in controversy.

Two company-wide meetings were scheduled, only to be cancelled hours later. Employees told Reuters they were left to piece together information through media reports, private messaging groups and anonymous forums.

The layoffs, which were long expected, have chilled Twitter’s famously open corporate culture that has been lauded by many of its employees.

“If you are in an office or on your way to an office, please return home,” Twitter said in the email on Thursday.

Shortly after the email landed in employee inboxes, hundreds of people flooded the company’s Slack channels to say goodbye, two employees told Reuters.

Someone invited Musk to join the channel, the sources added.

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