Twitter Temporarily Closes Its Offices After Announcing Layoffs By Mail

Twitter temporarily closed its offices on Friday after telling employees they would be notified by email later in the day about whether they were being fired.

The move follows a week of uncertainty about the company’s future under new owner Elon Musk.

The social media company said in an email to employees that it will inform them at 9 am Pacific time on Friday (9.30 pm IST) about the layoffs.

“In an effort to put Twitter on a healthy path, we will go through a difficult process of reducing our workforce worldwide on Friday,” said an email sent on Thursday, seen by Reuters.

Musk, the world’s richest man, is looking to cut about 3,700 Twitter employees, or about half of its workforce, as he seeks to cut costs and impose a new morale, according to internal plans reviewed by Reuters this week.

The company’s content management team is expected to be the target of cuts, tweets from Twitter employees suggested on Friday. Musk promised to restore free speech while preventing it from entering a “hellscape”.

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Twitter employees expressed their frustration about the layoffs on social media, using the hashtag #OneTeam.

User Rachel Bonn tweeted: “Last Thursday at the SF (San Francisco) office, the last day Twitter was really Twitter. 8 months pregnant and 9 months old. Just got cut off from laptop .”

In response to the #OneTeam thread, Twitter’s Head of Security and Assurance Yoel Roth, said: “Tweeps: My DMs (direct message lines) are always open for you. Tell me how I can help.”

Roth was the first CEO to publicly send a tweet in support of the workers who were losing their jobs. It also turned out that he still has his job. Last week, Musk endorsed Roth, citing his “high integrity” after he was criticized for tweets critical of former US President Donald Trump years ago.

Roth did not respond to a request for comment.

Twitter said in the email that its offices will be temporarily closed and access to badges temporarily suspended to “help ensure the security of individual employees and Twitter systems and customer data.”

The company’s office in Piccadilly Circus, London, appeared empty on Friday, with no employees.

Inside, any evidence of the social media mogul who once lived in the building has been erased. Security personnel said there was ongoing maintenance, and declined to comment.

The company said employees not affected by the layoffs will be notified through their work email addresses. Employees who were laid off will be notified of the next steps to their email addresses, the memo said.

A member of the security staff at Twitter’s EMEA headquarters in Dublin told reporters that no one was entering the office on Friday and employees were told to stay home.

One security guard locked the revolving doors in front of the building where about 500 workers were working before demolition began.

Some employees have tweeted that their access to the company’s IT system has been blocked and fear it suggests they have been fired.

“Looks like I’m not working. I just logged out of my work laptop and got kicked out of Slack,” tweeted a user with the account @SBkcrn, whose profile is described as a former senior Twitter community manager.

A class-action lawsuit was filed Thursday against Twitter by its employees, who say the company fired many people without providing the required 60-day notice, in violation of federal and California law.

The lawsuit also asked a San Francisco federal court to issue an injunction to prevent Twitter from soliciting fired employees to sign documents without informing them of the lawsuit.

Musk ordered Twitter teams to realize up to $1 billion (about Rs. 8,200 crore) in annual infrastructure cost savings, according to two sources familiar with the matter and an internal Slack message reviewed by Reuters.

He has already removed senior positions from the company, fired its CEO and senior financial and legal officers. Others, including those who sit atop the company’s advertising, sales and human resources divisions, have left over the past week.

Musk’s first week as owner of Twitter has been marked by chaos and uncertainty. Two company-wide meetings were scheduled, but were canceled after a few hours. Officials told Reuters they were left to piece together information from media reports, private message groups and anonymous forums.

The long-anticipated layoffs have cooled Twitter’s popular corporate culture, which has been praised by many of its employees.

“If you are in the office or going to the office, please go home,” Twitter said in an email on Thursday.

Soon after the email hit employees’ inboxes, hundreds of people flooded the company’s Slack channels to say goodbye, two employees told Reuters. Someone invited Musk to join the channel, the sources said.

© Thomson Reuters 2022

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