June 10, 2023

Elon Musk’s Twitter layoffs leave whole teams behind

Elon Musk has now axed about half of Twitter’s 7,500 employees, leaving entire teams completely or nearly completely purged, including those tasked with defending election misinformation ahead of next week’s US midterms. The Verge has learned.

The areas of Twitter most affected by Musk’s cuts include trust and security of its products, politics, communications, tweet curation, ethical AI, data science, research, machine learning, social good, accessibility and even certain core engineering teams, according to tweets. by laid-off and knowledgeable people. More company executives, including Arnaud Weber, director of consumer product planning, and Tony Haile, senior product director who oversaw Twitter’s work with news publishers, have also been let go as Musk fired Twitter’s top management last week.

“The crap is starting to fall apart.”

Given the broad nature of Musk’s layoffs and his mission to cut costs in things like cloud services, Twitter employees said. The Verge that they expect it will be difficult for the company to maintain critical infrastructure in the short term. “The crap is starting to fall apart,” said one current employee, who requested anonymity to speak without company permission, while another called the management layoff process “an absolute shitshow.”

Musk’s cuts began Thursday night, shortly after an unsigned memo was sent internally confirming the company was “going through a difficult process to reduce our global workforce.” Employees quickly realized they were locked out of their work accounts long before they were notified of their employment status in another unsigned email titled “Your role on Twitter.”

According to emails sent to furloughed employees and an internal FAQ The Verge, those affected will continue to be paid and receive benefits up to days that appear to correspond to the length of mass layoff notice required by U.S. federal and state law. If they sign a “Release of All Claims” document and a severance agreement, all US workers will receive one month’s base salary as severance pay, taxed according to higher additional income.

Meanwhile, employees in other countries have been told that their roles have been “identified as potentially impactful or at risk of termination” and that they should continue to follow company policies until more information is shared. An employee FAQ says the layoffs will affect “about 50 percent of the workforce,” confirming a conversation that accidentally became visible inside Twitter’s Slack two days ago.

Employees who were not laid off on Friday received a separate email to their work addresses informing them that the company’s internal directory, Birdhouse and office IDs will be closed until Monday, November 7. Before Birdhouse was shut down, Musk had nearly 90 direct reports on the list, according to the screenshots. The Verge.

“He looks forward to communicating with everyone soon about the company’s vision.”

“During the past week, Elon has spent time with a number of employees, customers, partners, policy makers and Twitter users,” says an unsigned email sent to remaining employees, which you can read in full at the end of this story. “He looks forward to communicating with everyone soon about the company’s vision.”

According to Musk’s merger agreement with Twitter and an internal employee FAQ from October seen The Verge, he agreed to pay the fired employees severance pay that would be at least equal to what Twitter was offering before the deal was made. The frequently asked questions state that Twitter’s severance package prior to Musk’s acquisition was two months’ base salary, or “target earnings” for sales employees who are part of the incentive system, as well as a performance bonus paid to the employee “according to the goal”, a cash payment for health care and the monetary value of equity that “would have been created within three months of the date of termination”. .

Some Twitter employees have already filed a lawsuit against the company, alleging that the company violated the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) and California’s WARN Act, which requires companies to give at least 60 days’ notice before mass firings. Others told The Verge they are negotiating with their lawyers about the difference between Musk’s one-month notice and what he agreed to pay before the merger.

Twitter had no comment on this story by press time. The company’s communications department is almost completely out of business since Friday.

Here’s the full email that Twitter employees who survived the layoffs received Friday:

Hey –

Thank you for your patience during this transition and your commitment to the important work you do at Twitter. We are sending this email to confirm that today’s workforce reduction will not affect your employment.

Over the past week, Elon has spent time with a variety of employees, customers, partners, policy makers, and Twitter users. He looks forward to communicating with everyone soon about the company’s vision.

We know you probably have several questions, and we’ll have more information to share next week. In the meantime, please note that until Monday, Birdhouse will be temporarily offline, our office buildings will be temporarily closed and all logins will be temporarily disabled. The offices will reopen on Monday, November 7.

Thank you for continuing to show respect for influential colleagues as we navigate these changes. As a reminder, we expect you to continue to follow company policy by refraining from discussing confidential company information on social media, in the press or elsewhere.

We look forward to working with you on the exciting future of Twitter.


Want to know more about what’s happening on Twitter? If so, I’d be happy to discuss it in confidence. You can contact me by email: [email protected] or via the Linktree contact form. Then we can set up a protected thread for Signal.

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