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After Elon Musk’s ultimatum, Twitter employees begin to leave

After Elon Musk’s ultimatum, Twitter employees begin to leave

Nov 18 (Reuters) – Hundreds of Twitter Inc employees are estimated to have decided to leave the beleaguered social media company after new owner Elon Musk set a deadline on Thursday for employees to report to “long, high-intensity hours” or walk away.

The departures underscore the reluctance of some of Twitter’s roughly 3,000 employees to stay at a company where Musk previously laid off half the workforce, including top management, and is relentlessly changing the culture to emphasize long hours and an intense pace.

Musk took to Twitter Thursday night to say he wasn’t worried about the resignations because “the best people stay.”

The billionaire owner also added, “We just hit another high in Twitter usage…”, without elaborating.

Musk met with some top employees on Thursday to try to convince them to stay, said one current employee and a recently departed employee who is in contact with colleagues on Twitter.

The company also notified employees that it would close its offices and reduce access to badges until Monday, according to two sources. Security officers began ejecting some employees from an office on Thursday night, one source said.

More than 110 Twitter employees on at least four continents announced their decision to leave in public Twitter posts reviewed by Reuters, although each resignation could not be independently confirmed. About 15 employees, many of them in ad sales, have announced their intention to stay with the company.

In Twitter’s internal chat tool, more than 500 employees wrote farewell messages on Thursday, a source familiar with the notes said.

A survey by workplace app Blind, which verifies employees via their work email addresses and allows them to share information anonymously, found that 42% of 180 respondents opted for “Opt out, I’m free!”

A quarter said they “reluctantly” decided to stay, and only 7% of survey participants said they “clicked yes to stay, I’m stubborn”.

The exact number of employees who intend to leave the company could not be immediately determined.

Twitter did not respond to a request for comment.

PLATFORM STABILITY

The departures include many engineers responsible for fixing bugs and preventing service disruptions, raising questions about the stability of the platform amid the loss of employees.

A photo of Elon Musk and the Twitter logo are seen through a magnifying glass in this illustration taken November 4, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

On Thursday evening, the version of the Twitter app used by employees began to slow down, according to one source familiar with the matter, who estimated that the public version of Twitter was at risk of crashing overnight.

“If it breaks, there’s no one left to fix things in many areas,” said the person, who declined to be named for fear of retribution.

Reports of Twitter outages spiked from fewer than 50 to about 350 reports Thursday night, according to the website Downdetector, which tracks website and app outages.

In a private conversation at Signal with about 50 Twitter employees, nearly 40 said they had decided to leave, according to a former employee.

And in a private Slack group for current and former Twitter employees, about 360 people have joined a new channel called “voluntary layoffs,” a person familiar with the Slack group said.

A separate Blind survey asked employees to estimate what percentage of people would leave Twitter based on their perceptions. More than half of the respondents estimated that at least 50% of employees will leave.

Early Wednesday, Musk sent an email to Twitter employees, saying, “Going forward, to make Twitter 2.0 a breakthrough and succeed in an increasingly competitive world, we’re going to have to be extremely tough.”

The email asked staff to click “yes” if they wanted to stay. Those who do not respond by 5 p.m. ET on Thursday will be considered to have resigned and received severance pay, according to the email.

As the deadline approached, employees scrambled to figure out what to do.

A team within Twitter has decided to take a step together and leave the company, one departing employee told Reuters.

Blue hearts and hello emojis flooded Twitter and its internal chat rooms on Thursday, the second time in two weeks that Twitter employees said their goodbyes.

Notable departures include Tess Rinearson, who was tasked with building Twitter’s cryptocurrency team. Rinearson tweeted a blue heart and greeting emoji.

In an apparent attack on Musk’s call for employees to be “hardcore,” biographies of several departing engineers on Thursday described themselves as “softcore engineers” or “former hardcore engineers.”

As the resignations came in, Musk joked on Twitter.

“How to make a small fortune on social networks?” he tweeted. “Start big.”

Reporting by Sheila Dang in Dallas, Hyunjoo Jin in San Francisco and Paresh Dave in Oakland, Calif.; Additional reporting by Martin Coulter and Akanksh Khushi; Editing by Sam Holmes and Mark Potter

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Paresh Dave

Thomson Reuters

A tech reporter based in the San Francisco Bay Area covering Google and the rest of Alphabet Inc. He joined Reuters in 2017 after four years at the Los Angeles Times focused on the local technology industry.



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