On Friday (November 4, 2022), Twitter laid off employees in departments across the company in a round of cost-cutting that could potentially turn how one of the most influential platforms operates, a week after billionaire Elon Musk‘s acquisition, as per CNN.
Numerous Twitter employees started posts on the platform Thursday night and Friday morning that they had been barred from their company email accounts ahead of the slated layoff notification.
In addition, some shared blue hearts and salute emojis, indicating they are no longer at the company.
By Friday morning, Twitter staff from departments including ethical AI, marketing and communication, public policy, wellness, search and other teams had tweeted having been laid off.
Curation team members helping raise reliable information on the platform, including about elections, were also let go, according to employee posts.
“Just got remotely logged out of my work laptop and removed from Slack,” one Twitter employee said on the platform. “So sad it had to end this way.”
Another staff stated that she and other Twitter human rights team members had been cut off.
The staff added that she’s proud of the team’s work “to protect those at-risk in global conflicts & crises including Ethiopia, Afghanistan, and Ukraine, and to defend the needs of those, particularly at risk of human rights abuse by virtue of their social media presence, such as journalists & human rights defenders.”
A former Twitter senior community manager, Simon Balmain, laid off Friday, stated in a CNN interview that he lost Slack, email and other internal systems’ access around 8 hours before receiving the email Friday morning notifying him that he’d been laid off.
He added that the layoff email “still didn’t provide any details ” about the reason he was fired.
“The waves of annoyance and frustration and all that stuff are absolutely mitigated by the extreme solidarity we’ve seen from people that are in the company, people that are in the same position, people that left the company in years gone by,” said Balmain
“It’s like a giant support network, which has been absolutely amazing.”
Meanwhile, Elon Musk on Friday had a friendly interview at an investor conference and talked about making affordable EVs and his aim to go to Mars.
During the interview, the billionaire said of Twitter, “I tried to get out of the deal,” then he added, “I think there is a tremendous amount of potential … and I think it could be one of the most valuable companies in the world.”
The interviewer stated that the Tesla CEO had let go “half of Twitter”, and Musk nodded, although he didn’t comment on the remark.
In his interview, Musk appeared to work out the layoffs as necessary for a company facing “revenue challenges” before his acquisition as advertisers reconsider spending amid recession concerns.
Musk also stated, “a number of major advertisers have stopped spending on Twitter” since completing the acquisition.
Over 3,700 Twitter employees were laid off
Twitter had over 7,500 workers before Musk’s takeover, meaning approximately 3,700 employees were laid off.
The cuts come as the new Twitter boss tries to improve the company’s bottom line after taking out debt financing to fund his $44 billion acquisition.
Twitter’s employment status notification email
The email sent Thursday (November 3) evening let employees know that they would receive a notice by noon ET Friday (November 4) that informs them of their employment status.
The email started with, “In an effort to place Twitter on a healthy path, we will go through the difficult process of reducing our global workforce on Friday.”
“If your employment is not impacted, you will receive a notification via your Twitter email,” an email copy acquired by CNN stated.
“If your employment is impacted, you will receive a notification with next steps via your personal email.”
“To help ensure the safety of each employee as well as Twitter systems and customer data, our offices will be temporarily closed, and all badge access will be suspended.” the email added.
The email concluded by saying that it would be “an incredibly challenging experience to go through” for the employees. And gives thanks “for your contributions to Twitter and for your patience as we move through this process.”
California’s Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN Act)
Several Twitter staff on Thursday night filed a class action lawsuit affirming that Twitter violates the federal and California Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN Act) after firing some employees.
The WARN Act requires an employer with more than 100 employees to give 60 days’ advanced written notice before a mass layoff “affecting 50 or more employees at a single site of employment.”
“We have filed this federal complaint to ensure that Twitter is held accountable to our laws and to prevent Twitter employees from unknowingly signing away their rights.” Attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan, who filed the lawsuit, stated in a statement to CNN.
California’s Employment Development Department (EDD) confirmed to CNN that there were no WARN notices filed by Twitter as of midday Friday.
Separately on Friday, other labor lawyers told CNN they started receiving inquiries from Twitter employees asking whether their terminations were retaliatory or discriminatory.
“Former Twitter employees have reached out to us regarding their layoffs and their circumstances, and so we’re looking at all the issues — beyond appropriate notice — and to make sure the employee wasn’t laid off due to their membership in a protected category,” said Chauniqua Young, a partner at the law firm Outten & Golden.
Musk began his Twitter tenure by firing CEO Parag Agrawal and two other executives, as per two people familiar with the matter.
And in less than a week since Musk’s acquisition, its C-suite seems to have nearly cleared out through firings and resignations. Musk has also dismissed Twitter’s former board of directors.