Elon Musk’s Twitter has begun firing employees across the company after an internal memo on Thursday warned that cuts were coming.
On Thursday evening and Friday morning, dozens of Twitter employees began posting to the platform that they had already been banned from their corporate email accounts prior to the scheduled layoff notice. Some also shared blue hearts and greeting emojis to signify that they were with the company.
By Friday morning, Twitter employees from departments such as ethical AI, marketing and communications, search, public policy, welfare and other teams had tweeted that they had been fired. Members of the curatorial team, which helps to get reliable information on the platform, including about elections, were also fired, according to employee reports.
“I’ve just been remotely logged out of my work laptop and removed from Slack,” a Twitter employee on the platform said. “So sad it had to end like this.”
While Twitter employees posted about layoffs, Musk appeared for a friendly interview at an investor conference on Friday and talked about making cheaper electric vehicles and his ambitions to go to Mars. During the interview, Musk said on Twitter, “I’ve been trying to get out of the deal,” but then added: “I think there’s tremendous potential… and I think it’s one of the most valuable companies. could be in the world.”
The interviewer said Musk fired “half of Twitter” and Musk nodded, though he didn’t comment on the comment. He seemed to view the layoffs as necessary for a company that, like other social media companies, faced “revenue problems” before its acquisition as advertisers reconsider spending over fears of a recession.
Musk also said that “a number of major advertisers have stopped publishing Twitter” in the days since the acquisition was completed.
It’s unclear exactly how many Twitter employees have been or will be fired. Twitter had approximately 7,500 employees prior to its acquisition of Musk. In recent days, there have been reports that Twitter could be shedding 25% to 50% of its workforce as Musk rethinks how the platform works and seeks to improve its bottom line after taking out significant debt financing to fund its $44 billion acquisition.
The email sent Thursday night informed employees that they would receive a message notifying them of their employment status by noon ET Friday.
“If your employment is not affected, you will be notified via your Twitter email,” according to a copy of the email obtained by CNN. “If your employment is affected, you will be notified with next steps via your personal email.”
The email added that “to help ensure the security” of employees and Twitter systems, the company’s offices “will be temporarily closed and all access to badges will be suspended.”
The email concluded that it will be “an incredibly challenging experience to continue” for the staff.
Several Twitter employees filed class action lawsuits Thursday night alleging Twitter violates the federal and California Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN Act) after already laying off some employees.
The WARN Act requires an employer with more than 100 employees to provide 60 days’ notice in writing prior to a mass layoff “affecting 50 or more employees in a single place of employment.”
“Elon Musk, the richest man in the world, has made it clear that he believes compliance with federal labor laws is ‘trivial,'” attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan, who filed the lawsuit, said in a statement to CNN. “We are filing this federal complaint to ensure that Twitter is held accountable for our laws and to prevent Twitter employees from unknowingly stripping away their rights.”
Musk began his tenure at Twitter by firing CEO Parag Agrawal and two other executives, according to two people familiar with the decision.
And in less than a week since Musk took over the company, the C-suite appears to have been almost completely cleaned up, through a mix of layoffs and layoffs. Musk has also dissolved Twitter’s former board of directors.
Many staffers summed up their feelings on Friday with a hashtag, #LoveWhereYouWorked, a past play on one previously frequently used by Twitter employees.
– Clare Duffy and Shawn Nottingham contributed to this report