As the new company chapter under the new owner Elon Musk begins, the “blood bath” has begun in the Twitter offices. The microblogging platform temporarily closed its offices last Friday, informing the staff that they would be notified through email whether or not they were retained. Till now, half of the workforce has been laid off. Employees have filed a lawsuit against the company, and advertisers have made boycott calls.
The first sign that some of the 7,500 workers at the company had been let go came late on Thursday when their email accounts were shut down. However, they were not given written notice of their termination, and some of their Slack accounts were still active.
As the company’s operations in Ireland and Britain waited for word from the San Francisco corporate office regarding their job status, employees there stayed up late. Some individuals learned of their job loss in the wee hours of the morning.
Because of the random nature of the cuts, at least one employee was locked out of the company’s computers during a late-night discussion on the Blue subscription service.
According to a message from the head of safety and integrity, Yoel Roth, the department in charge of checking tweets for violence, hate speech, and other prohibited material, about 50% of the company’s personnel has been slashed.
Twitter Faces Major Backlash
The CEO of Free Press, Jessica González, claimed she and the heads of more than 40 other organizations met with Musk earlier last week. Free Press is a member of the #StopToxicTwitter alliance.
“He promised to retain and enforce the election-integrity measures that were on Twitter’s books before his takeover. With today’s mass layoffs, it is clear that his actions betray his words,” González said.
She was concerned that Musk was tearing down investment in fact-checking, moderators, and policy, which might allow for the propagation of even more hazardous misinformation, particularly so close to election day.
Ad Revenue Drops
The coalition behind #StopToxicTwitter is currently urging advertisers to stop using the plastform. Since Musk took control last week, several significant sponsors, including General Motors and Pfizer, have stopped running ads on Twitter. Twitter’s revenue is primarily derived from advertising.
Although Musk has made an effort to pacify them, advertisers are still apprehensive about whether Twitter’s strict content moderation policies will continue and whether their continued presence there would damage their brands.
“Nothing has changed with content moderation,” Musk wrote in a tweet.
However, since Musk decided to purchase Twitter in April, advertisers have been steadily declining, according to MediaRadar, a company that records ad purchases. The average number of advertisers on Twitter between January and April was 3,350. From May through September, only 3,100 people were present. Prior to July, Twitter saw monthly spending from over a thousand new advertisers. During the months of July and August, that number fell to about 200.
Going forward, any Twitter handles engaging in impersonation without clearly specifying “parody” will be permanently suspended— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 6, 2022
Employees File a Lawsuit
On behalf of employees who were laid off, a small group of employees moved fast to file a class action lawsuit in federal court in San Francisco on Thursday.
Shannon Liss-Riordan, the case’s lead attorney, explained that the lawsuit was brought forth in advance so that Twitter’s employees wouldn’t be taken advantage of and forced to sign away their rights.
According to the lawsuit, employees are being fired without providing them with enough notice, in violation of both Californian and federal employment laws. In accordance with the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, or WARN, large layoffs must be announced at least 60 days in advance.
Employees were informed of their three-month severance package on Friday, according to Liss-Riordan, which Musk later confirmed in a tweet.
Twitter rules will evolve over time, but they’re currently the following: https://t.co/Ut1tXuefso— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 7, 2022
Employees Being Called Back?
A reputable journalist named Casey Newton tweeted that several sources had confirmed Twitter had encouraged former employees who had been sacked to return after just one day.
“Multiple sources and Twitter Blind chats now saying that the company has begun to reach out to some people it laid off yesterday, asking them to come back. Whoops!” tweeted Newton.
Twitter is the worst!— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 8, 2022
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