Twitter fired employees across the company on Friday in a round of draconian cost cuts that could upend the way one of the world’s most powerful platforms operates a week after it was acquired by billionaire Elon Musk.
On Thursday night and Friday morning, many Twitter employees began posting on the platform saying they had been locked out of company email accounts ahead of the planned layoffs. Some also shared blue hearts and salute emojis, indicating they were not at the company.
By Friday morning, Twitter employees from departments including ethical AI, marketing and communications, search, public policy, health and other teams had tweeted about the firings. Members of the curation team who helped promote reliable information on the platform, including election information, were also fired, according to employee posts.
“Just remotely logged out of my work laptop and deleted from Slack,” a Twitter employee said on the platform. “It’s a shame it had to end this way.”
Another employee said she and other members of Twitter’s human rights team had been fired. The employee added that her work for the team “protects those at risk in conflicts and crises around the world, including in Ethiopia, Afghanistan and Ukraine, and defends the rights of those who are particularly at risk of human rights violations because of their social responsibilities. Demand” work proudly. Media presence, such as journalists and human rights defenders. ”
Former Twitter senior community manager Simon Balman, who was fired on Friday, told CNN that he lost access to Slack, emails and other internals for about eight hours before receiving an email Friday morning that formally notified him. system. was fired. He added that the layoff email “still doesn’t really provide any details” about why he was fired.
“The wave of annoyance and frustration and all of that stuff is completely mitigated by the extreme solidarity we’ve seen from the company’s employees, people in the same positions, people who have left the company over the past few years,” Balman said. “It’s like a huge support network, absolutely amazing.”
A fired Twitter employee told CNN on Friday that some employees were relieved that they were fired. “It would be a punishment for me to stay safe,” the employee said.
When Twitter employees tweeted about the firing, Musk gave a friendly interview at an investor conference on Friday and talked about building cheaper electric cars and his ambitions to go to Mars. In the interview, Musk said of Twitter, “I’m trying to get out of the deal,” but then added, “I think there’s huge potential…and I think it’s probably one of the most valuable companies in the world. One. The world.”
The interviewer said Musk had cut “half of Twitter,” and Musk nodded, although he did not comment on the remarks. For a company that, like other social media companies, was facing “revenue challenges” before his acquisition, he appeared to think layoffs were necessary as advertisers reconsider spending amid recession fears.
Musk also said that “some major advertisers have stopped spending money on Twitter” in the days following the acquisition.
It is unclear how many Twitter employees have been or will be fired. Before Musk’s acquisition, Twitter had about 7,500 employees. In recent days, reports have surfaced that Twitter could lay off 25% to 50% of its workforce as Musk rethinks how the platform works and tries to boost the company’s bottom line after providing substantial debt financing for his $44 billion acquisition .
An email sent Thursday night informs employees that they will be notified of their employment status Friday at 12:00 p.m. ET.
“If your work has not been affected, you will be notified via your Twitter email,” a copy of the email obtained by CNN said. “If your work is affected, you will be notified via your personal email with next steps.”
The email added that “to help keep employees and Twitter’s systems safe,” the company’s offices “will be temporarily closed and all badge access will be suspended.”
The email concludes by acknowledging that it will be “a very challenging experience” for employees.
On Thursday night, several Twitter employees filed a class-action lawsuit alleging that Twitter violated the federal and California Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN Act) after firing some employees.
The Warning Act requires employers with more than 100 employees to provide 60 days’ written notice of mass layoffs that “affect 50 or more employees at a single location of employment.”
In a statement to CNN, Shannon Liss-Riordan, the attorney who filed the lawsuit, said: “Elon Musk, the richest man in the world, has made it clear that he believes that Compliance with federal labor laws is ‘trivial.'” “We have filed this federal complaint to ensure Twitter is accountable to our laws and to prevent Twitter employees from unknowingly giving up their rights.”
The California Employment Development Department confirmed to CNN that Twitter had not filed any WARN notices as of noon Friday.
Separately, other labor lawyers told CNN on Friday that they had begun receiving inquiries from Twitter employees asking whether their firings might have been unlawful, discriminatory or retaliatory.
“Former Twitter employees have contacted us about their layoffs and their circumstances, so we’re looking at all issues — beyond proper notice — and making sure the employee isn’t fired because they fall into a protected category,” Outten & said Chauniqua Young, a partner at the law firm Golden.
In addition to potential lawsuits from layoffs, other legal experts said Musk’s handling of the layoffs is likely to create more problems for him — both in terms of attracting future talent and keeping the remaining employees happy.
“Once you treat people this way, they remember that,” said Terry Gerstein, a fellow at Harvard Law School’s Labor and Work Life Program and the Institute for Economic Policy. “Of the rest, for sure, none of them feel safe at work, and I’d be appalled if the rest don’t update their resumes now or discuss unionizing with each other.”
Musk’s tenure at Twitter began with the firing of CEO Parag Agrawal and two other executives, according to two people familiar with the matter.
Less than a week after Musk bought the company, its executives appear to have been cleaned up almost entirely through a mix of firings and resignations. Musk also disbanded Twitter’s former board.
On Friday, many employees summed up their feelings with the hashtag #LoveWhereYouWorked, a past-tense game that Twitter employees used to play regularly.
– Brian Fung and Shawn Nottingham contributed to this report