Big Bad Elon Musk has been in charge of Twitter for one week, and the (s)hits keep coming. First, he canned a bunch of top execs, then he gave us Pay-for-Verification-gate, and now he’s on a mass-firing spree. No one’s sure of the exact number, but CNN reports that 25% to 50% of Twitter’s 7,500 employees are expected to lose their jobs before the holidays. Man, this guy doesn’t even bother pretending he’s not evil! A real-life Mr. Burns, except, somehow, less relatable. At least Burns had that teddy bear and scintillating will-they-won’t-they tension with Smithers.
Yesterday, workers received an internal memo that they should expect layoffs, and their employment status would be revealed to them by 9:00 AM the following day (this morning). Here it is:
Here's the first official communication from Twitter's new leadership to its staff, a week after Musk took over: a fun game where you get to find out if you're laid off or not based by 9am tomorrow, based on whether the email pops up in your Twitter account or personal account. pic.twitter.com/tpJsAkiaHp
— Will Oremus (@WillOremus) November 4, 2022
Then, last night, dozens of employees began tweeting that they’d already been locked out of their company email accounts:
Has it already started? Happy layoff eve! pic.twitter.com/0AcaQjGJvm
— Rumman Chowdhury (@ruchowdh) November 4, 2022
Well this isn’t looking promising. Can’t log into emails. Mac wont turn on.
But so grateful this is happening at 3am. Really appreciate the thoughtfulness on the timing front guys.
— Chris Younie (@ChrisYounie) November 4, 2022
This morning, as former Twitter employees mourned the loss of their incomes, Elon did a “friendly interview” at an investor conference about making cheaper electric cars and his plans to go to Mars. But the interviewer had to kill the vibe by bringing up the mass layoffs:
During the interview, Musk said of 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 said that Musk had fired “half of Twitter” and Musk nodded, although he did not comment on the remark. He appeared to frame the layoffs as necessary for a company that, like other social media firms, was experiencing “revenue challenges” prior to his acquisition as advertisers rethink spending amid recession fears.
Musk also said “a number of major advertisers have stopped spending on Twitter” in the days since the acquisition was completed.
Some employees are already fighting back. Twitter staffers pre-emptively filed a class action lawsuit late yesterday after receiving the “get ready to be fired!” memo. The suit says that any firings would be a violation of California and federal law, partly because Elon didn’t give them sufficient notice, via CNN:
The WARN Act requires that an employer with more than 100 employees must provide 60 days’ advanced written notice prior to a mass layoff “affecting 50 or more employees at a single site of employment.”
“Elon Musk, the richest man in the world, has made clear that he believes complying with federal labor laws is ‘trivial,’” Attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan, who filed the lawsuit, said in a statement to CNN. “We have filed this federal complaint to ensure that Twitter be held accountable to our laws and to prevent Twitter employees from unknowingly signing away their rights.”
Hey, in Elon’s defense, he’s a walking red flag. He joined the Twitter board on April 5 – that’s the day Twitter employees should’ve known their jobs were doomed.
Pic: Jennifer Graylock/INSTARimages/Cover Images