Twitter employees start leaving after Elon Musk’s ultimatum

Nov 17 (Reuters) – Hundreds of Twitter employees are estimated to be leaving the struggling social media company after new boss Elon Musk issued an ultimatum to require employees to either Intensity work long hours”, or leave the job.

In a poll on the workplace app Blind, which verifies employees by their work email addresses and allows them to share information anonymously, 42% of 180 people selected the “opt out option, I have Empty!” answer.

A quarter said they “reluctantly” chose to stay, and just 7% of poll participants said they “click yes to stay, I’m hardcore”.

A current employee and a recently departed employee kept in touch with Twitter colleagues, and Musk was meeting with some senior employees to try to persuade them to stay.

While it’s unclear how many employees chose to stay, the numbers highlight some employees’ reluctance to stay at a company as Musk has quickly fired half of the workforce, including top management, and is relentlessly changing the culture to Emphasize long hours of work and intense pace.

The company notified employees that it would close offices and cut off badge access until Monday, according to two sources. On Thursday night, security personnel began pushing employees out of the office, one of the sources said.

Musk tweeted late Thursday that he was not worried about resigning because “the best people stay.”

The billionaire boss, who is in the throes of resignation, added that Twitter usage has hit an all-time high.

“Our Twitter usage is at an all-time high…” he said in a tweet, without elaborating.

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

platform stability

The departures included many of the engineers tasked with fixing bugs and preventing service interruptions, raising questions about the stability of the platform amidst the staff turnover.

The version of the Twitter app used by employees started to slow down Thursday night, according to a person familiar with the matter, who estimated that the public version of Twitter was at risk of crashing overnight.

“If it does break, there will be no one to fix it in a lot of places,” said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.

In this illustration taken on November 4, 2022, a photo of Elon Musk and the Twitter logo are seen through a magnifying glass.REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

Reports of Twitter outages jumped from fewer than 50 to about 350 Thursday night, according to Downdetector, a website that tracks website and app outages.

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

In private Slack groups for current and former Twitter employees, about 360 people have joined a new channel called “Voluntary Layoffs,” a person with knowledge of the Slack group said.

Another poll on Blind asked staff to estimate how many people would leave Twitter based on their perceptions. More than half of respondents estimated that at least 50 percent of their workforce will leave.

Blue hearts and tribute emojis flooded Twitter and its internal chat rooms on Thursday, the second farewell to Twitter employees in two weeks.

By 6 p.m. ET, more than two dozen Twitter employees in the U.S. and Europe had announced their departures in public Twitter posts seen by Reuters, though each resignation could not be independently verified.

Earlier Wednesday, Musk sent an email to Twitter employees saying: “Going forward, we will need to be very stubborn to build a groundbreaking Twitter 2.0 and succeed in an increasingly competitive world.”

The email asks staff to click “Yes” if they want to stay. Those who do not respond by 5 p.m. ET on Thursday will be considered resigned and receive severance pay, the email said.

As deadlines loom, employees scramble to figure out what to do.

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

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

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

With the resignation coming, Musk made a joke on Twitter.

“How do you make a small fortune on social media?” he tweeted. “Start big.”

Reporting by Sheila Dang in Dallas, Hyunjoo Jin in San Francisco and Paresh Dave in Oakland, California; Additional reporting by Martin Coulter and Akanksha Khushi; Editing by Sam Holmes

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

paresh dev

Thomson Reuters

Technology reporter based in the San Francisco Bay Area covering Google and other parts of Alphabet Inc. Joined Reuters in 2017 after four years at the Los Angeles Times focusing on the local tech industry.

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