Twitter on Friday sacked thousands of employees from departments throughout the company, in a massive cut in costs which could change the way one of the most powerful platforms operates within a week of being bought from billionaire Elon Musk.
A lot of Twitter employees started posting on the site Thursday evening and Friday morning that they were removed from their company email accounts in advance of the scheduled layoff notification. Many also posted blue hearts and salutes emojis, indicating that they had left the workplace.
In the early hours of Friday, Twitter employees from departments such as ethical AI marketing and communications search and social policy, wellness along with other groups had posted tweets about being fired. The curation team that helps increase the credibility of information via the website, such as information on elections, also were fired, according to the tweets of employees.
“Just got remotely logged out of my work laptop and removed from Slack,” one Twitter employee wrote on the social media platform. “So sad it had to end this way.”
A third employee reported that she and the other members of Twitter’s Human Rights team were laid off. The employee also said that she was satisfied with the team’s efforts “to protect those at-risk in global conflicts & crises including Ethiopia, Afghanistan, and Ukraine, and to defend the needs of those particularly at risk of human rights abuse by virtue of their social media presence, such as journalists & human rights defenders.”
Simon Balmain, a former Twitter senior community manager who was fired Friday, revealed in an interview to CNN that he was denied access to Slack and email as well as other internal systems for about 8 hours prior to receiving an email on Friday morning, formally advising him of his dismissal. The lay off letter “still didn’t provide any details really” regarding the reason that he had been fired.
“The waves of annoyance and frustration and all that stuff are absolutely mitigated by the extreme solidarity we’ve seen from people that are in the company, people that are in the same position, people that left the company in years gone by,” Balmain explained. “It’s like a giant support network, which has been absolutely amazing.”
A Twitter user who got let go was quoted by CNN the day before that some employees are happy to be removed. “For me, being safe would’ve been punishment,” the employee told CNN.
When Twitter employees were making posts about their job losses, Musk on Friday appeared for a chat at an investor event and discussed the possibility of making more affordable electric vehicles, as well as his goals to travel to Mars. In an interview Musk admitted to Twitter, “I tried to get out of the deal,” but then added “I think there is a tremendous amount of potential … and I think it could be one of the most valuable companies in the world.”
The interviewer mentioned that Musk was cut off “half of Twitter” and Musk smiled, though Musk did not respond to the statement.
(In a sequence of tweets on Friday evening, Yoel Roth, head of Twitter’s trust & safety team, announced that total headcounts were cut by about 50 percent. The layoffs wiped out 15% of Twitter’s trust and safety department and led to cuts in customer support, but not a significant changes in content moderation, as per Roth. )