Last week, Elon Musk bought Twitter and it’s been all downhill from there.
So far, he has asked verified users to pay for their blue checks and may have removed the account of his ex Amber Heard. Now he’s planning to lay off nearly half of the social media platform’s 7,500 employees.
In a wave of e-mails, the first layoffs were announced Thursday evening and employees were notified Friday morning – losing access to their Slack and internal company systems.
“These decisions never come easy,” read the email, “and it is with regret that we write to inform you that your role at Twitter has been identified as potentially impacted or at risk of redundancy.”
According to the email, decisions were being made according to the country where employees were based and additional information would be shared “as soon as possible.”
This unpopular and impersonal announcement comes in the first week of Musk’s ownership of the platform and the subsequent firing of its chief executive among other top roles. With the leadership team thinning, more top executives have since resigned or were let go while managers drew up lists of high and low-performing employees in advance of the layoffs.
Former employees have launched a class action lawsuit saying they were not given fair notice under U.S. federal law that they had lost their jobs, as some employees first got wind of their termination when they were locked out of their work accounts Thursday evening.
In a tweet explaining the layoffs, Musk attributed the platform’s deficits to “activist groups pressuring advertisers” to withdraw from Twitter, causing a “massive drop in revenue.” He also promised that no changes have been made to content moderation following suspicions that Musk will allow hate speech and other content on the platform.
\u201cTwitter has had a massive drop in revenue, due to activist groups pressuring advertisers, even though nothing has changed with content moderation and we did everything we could to appease the activists.\n\nExtremely messed up! They\u2019re trying to destroy free speech in America.\u201d— Elon Musk (@Elon Musk) 1667572100
According to insider sources by The Guardian, the first wave of cuts did not seem to hinge solely on job performance. Riche Assaly, a digital producer for the Toronto Star and previous member of Twitter’s curation team, tweeted saying his former role, which is responsible for vetting misinformation, was dissolved.
\u201cLooks like Elon Musk fired the entire curation team. \n\nThese were the folks who tackled misinfo, contextualized conversations via the 'Explore' page, and helped make Twitter an unmatched source for breaking news.\n\nThis will make Twitter noisier, more dangerous & less interesting\u201d— Richie Assaly (@Richie Assaly) 1667569198
Along with the curation team, reports suggest Musk has done away with entire departments including a human rights team, according to the former Human Rights Counsel at Twitter, Shannon Raj Singh, and a group responsible for machine language ethics, transparency and accountability, according to former Twitter engineer Joan Deitchman.
Throughout the week tech companies have cut jobs, with Lyft promising to lay off 13% or 5,000 employees. Just a week ahead of a contentious midterm election cycle, some industry staples are raising eyebrows. In the New York Times, the founder of industry advocacy organization Accountable Tech said the layoffs could be an arbitrary electoral tactic.
“There is nothing visionary or innovative about summarily firing,” workers by email.
In the terms of his acquisition of Twitter, Musk promised to maintain employee compensation and benefits in his first year, under which employees are paid at least two months’ salary and the cash value of the equity they were scheduled to receive within three months of their layoff date, according to The Times.
Former employees across departments have flooded the platform with goodbyes using the hashtags #lovewhereyouworked and #oneteam, which began trending.
\u201cThe 50% of twitter that just got fired could be the start of the dream team that launches Twitter\u2019s next serious rival\u2026talk about a knowledge goldmine \ud83d\udc99 #TwitterLayoffs #OneTeam \ud83d\udc99\u201d— Jessica Ellerm (@Jessica Ellerm) 1667548336
Photo Courtesy of Carl Timpone/ BFA
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