Elon Musk’s Twitter has begun laying off employees across the company, after an internal memo on Thursday warned of layoffs.
On Thursday night and into Friday morning, dozens of Twitter employees began posting on the platform that they had already been locked out of their company email accounts ahead of the planned layoff notice. Some also shared blue hearts and hello emojis to show they were in company.
Earlier on Friday, Twitter employees from departments including ethical artificial intelligence, marketing and communications, search, public policy, health and other teams tweeted that they were being let go. According to staff posts, members of the curation team that helped promote reliable information on the platform, including the election, were also fired.
“I’ve been remotely logged out of my work laptop and deleted from Slack,” one Twitter employee wrote on the platform. “It’s a shame it ended this way.”
As Twitter employees wrote about their layoffs, Musk appeared at an investor conference on Friday for a friendly interview and talked about his ambitions to build cheaper electric cars and go to Mars. “I tried to get out of the deal,” Musk said of Twitter during the interview, but later added, “I think there’s a lot of potential … and I think it could be one of the most valuable companies in the world. .”
The interviewer said Musk had fired “half of Twitter,” and Musk nodded, though he didn’t comment on the statement. He sees the cuts as necessary for a company that, like other social media firms, faced “revenue challenges” before the acquisition as advertisers reassess spending amid fears of a recession.
Musk said that in the days after the acquisition was completed, “a number of large advertisers stopped spending money on Twitter.”
It’s unclear exactly how many Twitter employees have been laid off or will be laid off. Before Musk’s takeover, Twitter had about 7,500 employees. There have been reports in recent days that Twitter could cut between 25% and 50% of its workforce as Musk overhauls how the platform operates and tries to improve the company’s bottom line after taking significant debt financing to fund its $44 billion acquisition.
An email sent out Thursday evening told employees they would receive a job status notification by 12:00 p.m. Friday.
“If your employment is not affected, you will receive a notification via your Twitter email,” reads a copy of the email obtained by CNN. “If your employment is affected, you will be notified of next steps via your personal email.”
The company’s offices will be “temporarily closed and access to all tabs will be suspended” to “ensure the security” of employees and Twitter systems, the email added.
The email acknowledged that this would be an “incredibly difficult experience” for the workforce.
On Thursday night, several Twitter employees filed a class-action lawsuit alleging that Twitter violated the federal and California Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN Act) after it already laid off some employees.
NOTICE The law requires that an employer with more than 100 employees must provide 60 days’ written notice before a mass layoff “affecting 50 or more employees at one workplace.”
“Elon Musk, the world’s richest man, has made it clear that he believes compliance with federal labor laws is ‘irrelevant,'” attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan, who filed the lawsuit, told CNN in a statement. “We have filed this federal complaint to hold Twitter accountable to our laws and to prevent unwitting disenfranchisement of Twitter employees.”
Musk began his tenure at Twitter by firing CEO Parag Agrawal and two other executives, according to two people familiar with the decision.
Less than a week after Musk bought the company, its C-suite was almost completely purged in a mix of layoffs and resignations. Musk also dismissed Twitter’s former board of directors.
On Friday, many employees summed up their feelings with the hashtag #LoveWhereYouWorked, a past-tense pun about a game that used to be used frequently by Twitter employees.
— Clare Duffy and Shawn Nottingham contributed to this report