Thousands of Twitter employees were notified beginning Friday they were being released by the social media platform’s new management team.
Elon Musk completed his $44 billion hostile takeover of Twitter Thursday and immediatedly fired many top executives, including the CEO, CFO and general counsel.
Soon, the billionaire founder of Tesla and SpaceX began making good on his prepurchase announcement that up to half of the company’s employees would be fired. The company is prepared to dismiss almost 4,000 of the 7,500 worldwide employees to rein in costs. Many business analysts have opined Musk paid nearly twice Twitter’s true value.
The race to find efficiencies is on. Even though fired U.S. employees will reportedly receive pay through January as part of their severance pay, some fired employees are already suing. Some states, such as New York and California, have fixed notification periods that constrain employers from immediately firing employees.
European countries, in particular, have stringent employee protections that may make it more expensive to fire employees there than to retain them.
The revenue side of the Twitter equation has taken a hit as advertisers are deserting Twitter like rats leaving a sinking ship. Some cite the decreased content moderation policy that is expected to soon follow the takeover. General Motors, a Tesla competitor, may not care to see ads for family cars appear alongside hateful or pornographic content.
Adidas, which recently parted ways with rapper Kanye West, may object to their sneaker ads bracketing antisemitic tweets.
A lot of the publicized angst is probably overblown and advertisers will probably flock back to the tweety bird when the new moderation policy is announced and parsed.
Musk has sought to reassure advertisers by promising Twitter would not become a “free-for-all hellscape.” He also informed the European Union he will comply with its Digital Services Act, which penalizes companies that do not control illegal content, according to a Reuters report.
He posted a comment to Twitter Saturday morning, lamenting pressure advertisers were getting from political activists.
“Twitter has had a massive drop in revenue, due to activist groups pressuring advertisers, even though nothing has changed with content moderation and we did everything we could to appease the activists,” Musk remarked. “Extremely messed up!”
“They’re trying to destroy free speech in America.”
The first of two emails sent by the company informed fired employees they would no longer have access to Twitter systems and should expect information about their severance packages within a week.
The second email told remaining employees Musk has been listening to customers and other stakeholders on suggestions for improvement. The workers were instructed to refrain from talking to media in accordance with company policy.
The email contents were revealed in a Business Insider report.
The email sent to dismissed employees reads:
As shared earlier today, Twitter is conducting a workforce reduction to help improve the health of the company.
These decisions are never easy and it is with regret that we write to inform you that your role at Twitter has been impacted.
Today is your last working day at the company, however, you will remain employed by Twitter and will receive compensation and benefits through your separation date of February 2, 2023.
During this time, you will be on a Non-Working Notice period and your access to Twitter systems will be deactivated. While you are not expected to work during the Non-Working Notice period, you are still required to comply with all company policies, including the Employee Playbook and Code of Conduct.
Within a week, you will receive details of your severance offer, financial resources extending beyond your Non-Working Notice period.
At that time you will also receive a Separation Agreement and Release of Claims and other offboarding…
Employees who will continue to work for Twitter received the following email:
Thank you for your patience through this transition and for your commitment to the important work you do at Twitter. We are sending this email to confirm that your employment is not impacted by today’s workforce reduction.
Throughout the last week, Elon has spent time with a number of employees, customers, partners, policymakers and Twitter users. He is looking forward to communicating with everyone about his vision for the company soon.
We know you likely have a number of questions and we will have more information to share next week. In the meantime, please note that until Monday, Birdhouse is temporarily offline, our office buildings are temporarily closed and all badge access is temporarily suspended. Offices will reopen on Monday, Nov. 7th.
Thank you for continuing to demonstrate respect for impacted colleagues as we navigate these changes. As a reminder, we expected you to continue to comply with company policy by refraining from discussing confidential company information on social media, with the press or elsewhere.
We look forward to working with you on Twitter’s exciting future.
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