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Twitter to start layoffs: Internal email

Twitter to start layoffs: Internal email
FILE PHOTO: Twitter logo (Photo: AFP/Constanza HEVIA)

Twitter will tell employees by email on Friday (Nov 4) about whether they have been laid off, temporarily closing its offices and preventing staff access, following a week of uncertainty about the company's future under new owner Elon Musk.

The social media company said in an email to staff on Thursday that it will alert employees by 9am Pacific time on Friday (Saturday, 12am, Singapore time) about staff cuts.

"In an effort to place Twitter on a healthy path, we will go through the difficult process of reducing our global workforce on Friday," said the email, seen by Reuters.

Twitter said in the email, also seen by CNA, that its offices will be temporarily closed and all badge access will be suspended in order "to help ensure the safety of each employee as well as Twitter systems and customer data."

An employee in Singapore told CNA that Musk's "tenure at Twitter has been a master class in how not to lead an organisation through change".

"His team’s first internal communication was Friday, letting people know that they’d be finding out via a follow-up email whether or not they’ve been fired," said the anonymous staffer, who has been told "unofficially" that they would be laid off.

"I’d say the people being let go this week are the lucky ones."

Another Twitter Singapore employee, who is expecting to be let go, told CNA: "It’s really difficult news ... However, in a sense, we’re finally going to get some certainty and closure following what has been over six months of confusion and turbulence since Twitter and Musk first announced the acquisition bid in April."

"I’d characterise the manner in which this entire situation was handled as impersonal, unprofessional and hasty," said the employee, who also asked to remain anonymous.

Screengrabs of the email as seen by CNA. (Image: CNA)
Screengrabs of the email as seen by CNA. (Image: CNA)
Screengrabs of the email as seen by CNA. (Image: CNA)

Twitter said employees not affected by the layoffs would be notified via their work email addresses.

Staff who have been laid off will be notified with next steps to their personal email addresses, the memo said.

The email does not give a number but the Washington Post and New York Times reported that half of Twitter's 7,500 employees will be let go.

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A class action lawsuit was filed on Thursday against Twitter by its employees, who argued the company was conducting mass layoffs without providing the required 60-day advance notice, in violation of federal and California law.

The lawsuit also asked the San Francisco federal court to issue an order to restrict Twitter from soliciting employees being laid off to sign documents without informing them of the pendency of the case.

The notification of layoffs caps off a week of purges by Musk as he demanded deep cost cuts and imposed an aggressive new work ethic across the social media company.

He has directed Twitter's teams to find up to US$1 billion in annual infrastructure cost savings, according to two sources familiar with the matter and an internal Slack message reviewed by Reuters.

A workplace and employee review and other projects ordered by Musk were reportedly so exhaustive and grueling that some engineers slept at Twitter headquarters over the weekend.

Musk has said he wants to increase Twitter's revenue from US$5 billion last year to more than US$26 billion in 2028.

Top global companies, including General Mills and Volkswagen, suspended their advertising on Twitter on Thursday as pressure builds on Musk to turn his platform into a successful business.

US auto giant General Motors last week was the first major advertiser to suspend advertising following the takeover.

Musk had already cleared out the company's senior ranks, firing its chief executive and top finance and legal executives. Others, including those sitting atop the company's advertising, marketing and human resources divisions, departed throughout the past week.

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

The layoffs, which were long expected, have chilled Twitter's famously open corporate culture that has been revered by its employees.

Shortly after the email landed in Twitter employee 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.

Source: Agencies/cm

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