Thousands of Twitter employees sacked by email as Elon Musk begins cull of workforce

4 November 2022, 08:21 | Updated: 4 November 2022, 18:28

Elon Musk has begun culling Twitter staff
Elon Musk has begun culling Twitter staff. Picture: Getty/Alamy

By Asher McShane

Thousands of Twitter employees have been sacked by email as new owner Elon Musk begins his cull of the company's workforce.

Up to 3,700 people - around half the total number of staff members - could be made redundant.

Twitter employees in California have begun to receive one of two emails.

One informs the staff member that Friday November 4 is their "last working day at the company" but says they will continue to receive their salary and other benefits up until February.

An alternative email informs the staff member their role is "not impacted by today's workforce reduction" and promising to share more information next week.

Some staff members were given indications of their impending redundancy before the emails were sent.

One staffer claimed laptops had been remotely wiped and access to work chat tool Slack and Gmail revoked.

It came as Mr Musk claimed Twitter had seen a drop in revenue as he lashed out at advertisers.

A warning email sent earlier to staff states: "In an effort to place Twitter on a healthy path, we will go through the difficult process of reducing our global workforce on Friday.

"We recognise that this will impact a number of individuals who have made valuable contributions to Twitter, but this action is unfortunately necessary to ensure the company’s success moving forward.

An email sent to Twitter staff warning of layoffs
An email sent to Twitter staff warning of layoffs. Picture: Twitter
Bosses said staff will be notified by 4pm today
Bosses said staff will be notified by 4pm today. Picture: Twitter

“Given the nature of our distributed workforce and our desire to inform impacted individuals as quickly as possible, communications for this process will take place via email.

“By 9am PST on Friday Nov 4th, everyone will receive an individual email with the subject line: Your Role at Twitter.

“Please check your email, including your spam folder.

“If your employment is not impacted, you will receive a notification via your Twitter email.

“If your employment is impacted you will receive a notification with next steps via your personal email.”

Simon Balmain, a senior community manager for the platform in the UK, said he believed he had been laid off.

“Everyone got an email saying that there was going to be a large reduction in headcount, and then around an hour later, folks started getting their laptops remotely wiped,” he told the BBC.

Another employee tweeted: “Whatever happens Tweeps, know that you built something special. You made an impact. You're one hell of a #OneTeam.”

There have been suggestions that as many as half of the social media giant's global workforce could be cut. Twitter employs more than 7,500 people around the world.

Elon Musk at Heidi Klum's Halloween party
Elon Musk at Heidi Klum's Halloween party. Picture: Getty

Mr Musk is thought to want to drastically reduce costs at the company after completing his £39 billion takeover of the platform last week.

He has since tweeted "we need to pay the bills somehow" in relation to further plans to begin charging a monthly subscription for users to keep their verified blue tick badge.

He tweeted on Friday afternoon: "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.

"Extremely messed up! They're trying to destroy free speech in America."

According to an internal email reportedly sent to staff, the job cuts are "an effort to place Twitter on a healthy path" and action is "unfortunately necessary to ensure the company's success moving forward".

Staff have been told that everyone will receive an email by 4pm today, with those who are affected by the cuts set to receive the message on their personal email address rather than the one associated with their work.

"Given the nature of our distributed workforce and our desire to inform impacted individuals as quickly as possible, communications for this process will take place via email," the internal email said.

Some staff working overnight have already claimed to have been logged out of their Twitter laptops and internal messaging systems.

Mr Musk has promised to make sweeping changes at the company and has already removed the entire board, leaving himself as the sole executive, and pledged to change how the site handles content moderation.

He has also suggested allowing banned accounts, including that of former US president Donald Trump, back onto the site.

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