Twitter faced a new wave of employee departures on Thursday, bringing fresh uncertainty over the social media platform’s future after new owner Elon Musk ordered staff to commit to an “extremely tough” work culture or face being fired.
Hundreds of employees announced they were leaving the platform in the company’s internal Slack channels, according to two people familiar with the situation, ahead of a deadline set by Musk to formally register their intention to participate in building Twitter 2.0 or leave. with three months’ severance pay.
Many shared emojis of a person saluting or a blue heart as a sign of camaraderie, one person said. Some Twitter users, meanwhile, expressed concern that the latest exits could wreak havoc on the site.
There was internal turmoil Friday as those who indicated they had resigned still had access to email and Slack, the two said, with one speculating whether Twitter had enough people to shut down systems.
The ultimatum is part of Musk’s effort to transform Twitter’s historically lax culture, using as a model the long-hours culture at Tesla and SpaceX, the other companies he runs. The billionaire told employees on Wednesday that they had to be “extremely tough” and that the company would focus on design as a “software and server company.”
The resignations fueled concerns that gaping holes remain in the company’s knowledge and capacity, just weeks after Musk replaced half of its 7,500 employees following a $44 billion buyout. Some users of the platform were worried that the changes could lead to an imminent collapse of Twitter.
“I can’t stress enough how much everything has stopped,” said one employee.
Staff were told by email that the offices were closed effective immediately and would continue to be closed Friday and that access to the badge would be suspended, two of the people said, confirming a report on the Platformer website.
A week ago, Musk faced a mini-exodus of cybersecurity executives, including Yoel Roth, head of the trust and security department. On Thursday, Ella Irwin, a vice president of its health products and services team, was appointed to replace Roth to try to allay concerns, two people familiar with the matter said.
Some employees tried to extend the deadline for Musk’s “tough” ultimatum in light of Irwin’s appointment while they reassessed it, one of the people said.
Meanwhile, on Thursday, Musk sent an email to employees saying they could work remotely as long as they performed well and got the blessing of their managers. Just last week, he ordered all Twitter employees to spend at least 40 hours a week in the office.
“It seems like they’re trying to convince me [some] let them stay,” said one employee on Thursday.
But others have been publicly fired in recent days for challenging the billionaire entrepreneur or expressing concerns via internal messages on Slack or the platform itself, three former employees said.
The cuts and rapid changes have fueled fears of a proliferation of misinformation and hate speech on the platform, while Musk suspended sign-ups for his flagship premium subscription service, Twitter Blue, after its “blue tick” feature was misused by impersonators targeting politicians. and brands such as Eli Lilly and Lockheed Martin.
Musk also warned employees last week that bankruptcy was not out of the question. “How to Make a Small Fortune on Social Media? Start with a bigger one,” Musk tweeted when the resignation came.
Meanwhile, Musk faces increased scrutiny from regulators around the world.
A group of top Democratic senators on Thursday urged the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Twitter, saying Musk’s subversion of the company “undermined the integrity and security of the platform.”
In a letter to FTC Chairwoman Lina Khan, the seven senators cited significant layoffs and reported that the company scaled back internal privacy reviews as part of cost-cutting efforts. Among the signatories were Elizabeth Warren, Richard Blumenthal, Edward Markey and Cory Booker.
The European regulatory authorities and the Irish Data Protection Commission, the leading European data protection supervisory organization, also circled the company due to similar concerns, the Financial Times wrote on Wednesday.