Chaos, confusion reign ahead of Twitter layoffs

By Reuters   November 3, 2022 | 06:24 pm PT
Chaos, confusion reign ahead of Twitter layoffs
A view of the Twitter logo at its corporate headquarters in San Francisco, California, U.S. October 28, 2022. Photo by Reuters/Carlos Barria
Fear and dread spread across Twitter offices Thursday as 7,500 employees from San Francisco to Singapore feared for job cuts that were planned to hit about half of the staff.

Since billionaire Elon Musk took over last week, he has kept employees in the dark. He has not addressed the staff or laid out his plans for the future of the company, leaving workers to study message boards, news reports and tweets by Musk and his advisers for clues about their fate, multiple employees said.

Managers have been forbidden from calling team meetings or communicating directly with staff, one senior Twitter employee said, adding that they were being monitored.

"It feels like we're working among the Gestapo," they said.

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Employees have largely stopped posting on internal Slack channels for fear of reprisal from new bosses, with many instead taking to venting in encrypted messaging apps and the dedicated Twitter company channel on the app Blind, which provides a space for employees to share information anonymously.

"I'm really worried tweeps," a Twitter staffer wrote Thursday on Blind, which verifies employees through their work email addresses. Twitter colleagues often refer to each other as "tweeps."

The comment only scratched the surface of the dark and apprehensive mood inside the social media company now controlled by the Tesla Incvchief executive. Employees are waiting to hear if they will still have jobs on Friday, when layoffs are expected to begin, according to speculation among employees.

Waiting for the axe

Some Twitter employees have stopped taking calls or responding to emails from clients hounding them for information, because they did not know if they still had jobs, one employee told Reuters.

Others raced to meet deadlines by Friday U.S. time, when they expected the axe to fall, another employee said. One manager tweeted of a photo of herself sleeping on the floor of the office in a silver sleeping bag.

While some worried about annual bonuses or how they would be notified of layoffs, others rushed to apply for jobs at other companies. International employees fretted about the status of their visas. One employee sought advice on Blind on whether it was worth mentioning Twitter on their resume.

Employees who spoke with Reuters said they are learning about changes at their company by observing their work calendars and screenshots of discussion from managers, not from official communication from Musk or other leaders.

One employee confirmed that "days of rest," which are highly popular company-wide days off, have been removed from calendars for the rest of the year.

"Give us the details," a Google employee wrote in a Blind post directed at Twitter staff.

"It's worse than everything you're reading. Much worse," answered a Twitter employee.

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