Twitter is temporarily closing its offices as layoffs begin

  • Workers should hear if they are being laid off at 1600 GMT
  • Musk wants to cut half of workforce – internal plans
  • The employees filed a class-action lawsuit against Twitter

Nov 4 (Reuters) – Twitter Inc temporarily closed its offices on Friday after it said employees would be notified by email later in the day whether they would be laid off.

The move comes after a week of uncertainty over the company’s future under new owner Elon Musk.

The social media company said in an email to employees that it would announce the layoffs at 9 a.m. Pacific Time (EDT/1600 GMT) on Friday.

“To put Twitter on a healthy path, we will be going through the difficult process of reducing our global workforce on Friday,” said an email sent on Thursday, seen by Reuters.

Musk, the world’s richest man, plans to lay off about 3,700 Twitter employees, or about half of its workforce, as he seeks to cut costs and introduce a demanding new work ethic, according to internal plans reviewed by Reuters this week.

The company’s content moderation team, which was offered tweets from Twitter employees on Friday, is expected to be targeted for layoffs. Musk promised to restore free speech, preventing speech from falling into a “hellscape”.

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Twitter employees expressed their displeasure with the layoffs on the social network using the hashtag #OneTeam.

User Rachel Bonn tweeted: “Last Thursday in the SF (San Francisco) office, really last day Twitter Twitter. 8 months pregnant and 9 month old. Just lost access to laptop.”

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

Roth was the highest-ranking executive to send a public message with tweets of support for workers who lost their jobs. He also seemed to still have work to do. Musk last week endorsed Roth, citing his “high integrity” after he was called out years ago for tweets critical of former US President Donald Trump.

Roth did not respond to a request for comment.

Twitter said in an email that its offices would be temporarily closed and access to all icons would be suspended “to ensure the security of every employee, as well as Twitter’s systems and customer data.”

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

Inside, any evidence that the social media giant once occupied the building has been removed. The security personnel said that the repairs are ongoing and refused to comment further.

Employees not affected by the layoffs will be notified via their work email addresses, the company said. Laid-off employees will be notified of next steps to their personal email addresses, the memo said.

A member of the security team at Twitter’s EMEA headquarters in Dublin told reporters that no one was coming into the office on Friday and that employees had been told to stay home.

Another member of security staff locked the revolving doors at the front of the building, which houses about 500 workers, before the layoffs began.

Some employees tweeted that their access to the company’s IT system had been blocked and that they feared they would be fired.

“Looks like I’m out of a job. Remotely logged out of my work laptop and deleted from Slack,” said a user with the @SBkcrn account, whose profile is described as a former senior community manager on Twitter.

A class action lawsuit was filed against Twitter on Thursday, which they allege the company violated federal and California law by making mass layoffs without the required 60-day advance notice.

The suit also asked a federal court in San Francisco to grant an injunction to restrict Twitter from asking employees to sign documents without notifying them of the termination.

Musk has directed Twitter teams to find savings of up to $1 billion in annual infrastructure costs, according to two sources familiar with the matter and an internal Slack message reviewed by Reuters.

He has already reshuffled the company’s top ranks, firing its chief executive and top finance and legal executives. Others, including the heads of the company’s advertising, marketing and human resources departments, have quit over the past week.

Musk’s first week as the owner of Twitter has been marked by chaos and uncertainty. Two company-wide meetings were scheduled, only to be canceled a few hours later. Workers told Reuters they were left to piece together information through media reports, private messaging groups and anonymous forums.

The long-awaited layoffs have chilled Twitter’s famously open corporate culture, praised by many employees.

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

Shortly after the email landed in employees’ inboxes, hundreds of people flooded the company’s Slack channels to say goodbye, two employees told Reuters. Sources said someone invited Musk to join the channel.

Reporting by Sheila Dang, Katie Paul, Paresh Dave and Fanny Potkin, Rusharti Mukherjee, Martin Coulter and Supantha Mukherjee; Written by Matt Scuffham; Edited by Lincoln Feast, Mark Potter, and Jason Neely

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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