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Elon Musk: Billionaire says he had had ‘no choice’ over firings as Twitter losing $4m per day

Elon Musk said he had “no choice” but to fire around 3,700 Twitter employees worldwide as the company is losing $4m per day.

The billionaire took to Twitter to break his silence on the firings on Friday afternoon.

“Regarding Twitter’s reduction in force, unfortunately there is no choice when the company is losing over $4M/day. Everyone exited was offered 3 months of severance, which is 50% more than legally required,” he tweeted.

Earlier in the day, thousands of employees at the company ost their jobs, with staff notified about the layoffs in an email on Thursday.

“Team, In an effort to place Twitter on a healthy path, we will go through the difficult process of reducing our global workforce on Friday,” the internal memo to the employees noted.

“We recognize 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.”

Mr Musk has already made several changes to the company, starting with the firing of three of its top executives, including chief executive Parag Agrawal.

He had earlier told prospective investors that he intended to reduce the company’s staff from around 7,500 down to just over 2,000.

Bloomberg reported on Thursday that he planned to cut about 3,700 jobs at Twitter – about half the company’s workforce.

Key Points

  • Twitter sued for mass layoffs without enough notice

  • Twitter employees are calling Friday 'The Snap' and posting Thanos memes

  • Employees received emails saying layoffs are starting today

  • Musk breaks silence on Twitter firings

  • Twitter’s Head of Safety & Integrity insists ‘core moderation capabilities remain in place'

Friday 4 November 2022 06:31 , Vishwam Sankaran

Good morning and welcome to The Independent’s live blog on the latest with Twitter following Elon Musk’s takeover, including the news that potentially thousands of layoffs are to be announced today.

Employees received emails saying layoffs are starting today

Friday 4 November 2022 06:43 , Vishwam Sankaran

Twitter staff reportedly received an unsigned email on Thursday announcing that layoffs are coming on Friday morning (today).

Employees will be notified either via their official company email accounts if they still have jobs, or via their personal email accounts if their “employment is affected,” according to NBCNews.

Everyone affected by the layoffs will receive an email by 9AM PST Friday, the internal memo reportedly said.

Twitter employees are calling Friday 'The Snap' and posting Thanos memes

Friday 4 November 2022 07:08 , Vishwam Sankaran

Anticipating the layoff of over half of the company’s workforce on Friday, some Twitter employees are reportedly calling the day ‘The Snap,’ in reference to the Marvel villain’s extermination of half of all life in the universe.

Casey Newton, a former editor for The Verge, tweeted that dozens of Twitter’s employees are also posting possible farewell messages on Slack.

“We are grateful for your contributions to Twitter and your patience as we move through this process,” Twitter reportedly told its staff.

Twitter sued for mass layoffs without enough notice

Friday 4 November 2022 07:16 , Vishwam Sankaran

Twitter was reportedly sued over new boss Elon Musk’s plan to eliminate thousands of jobs at the company.

A class-action lawsuit was filed on Thursday in San Francisco federal court, Bloomberg News reported.

The lawsuit reportedly cited the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act which restricts large companies from carrying out massive layoffs without at least 60 days of advance notice to employees.

Employees are quickly trying to unlink their Twitter accounts and work emails

Friday 4 November 2022 07:40 , Vishwam Sankaran

Twitter staff are reportedly trying to quickly unlink their accounts on the platform from their work emails since the company mandates the two are connected.

Multiple reports suggest employees have started realising they have been laid off from the fact that their work logins are not working.

The company said in a memo earlier that it was laying off employees in “an effort to place Twitter on a healthy path.”

“It’s total chaos, house melting down, everyone looking towards this email,” one employee said, according to NBCNews.

Twitter may have lost over 1 million accounts since Musk takeover

Friday 4 November 2022 07:55 , Vishwam Sankaran

Twitter may have lost more than a million accounts since new boss Elon Musk took over the company, a new report says.

Over 850,000 accounts were deactivated, and nearly 500,000 were suspended, according to an estimate by Bot Sentinel, a firm that tracks inauthentic behavior on Twitter.

“Based on our internal data, we estimate 877,000 Twitter accounts were deactivated, and a further 497,000 were suspended between October 27 and November 1. That’s more than double the usual number,” Christopher Bouzy, founder of Bot Sentinel, tweeted.

The estimate suggests there may have been a nearly 200 per cent increase in account losses on the microblogging platform since the multibillionaire closed the deal and bought the social media company.

Friday 4 November 2022 09:00 , Adam Smith

Former Twitter employee Kayvon Beykpour offered his solidarity to leaving Twitter employees.

Mr Beykpour, who headed Periscope, Spaces, and Fleets during his seven-year tenure at the social media company, was fired by current chief executive Parag Agrawal while on paternity leave.

“The truth is that this isn’t how and when I imagined leaving Twitter, and this wasn’t my decision. Parag asked me to leave after letting me know that he wants to take the team in a different direction”, Mr Beykpour tweeted at the time.

Mr Agrawal was later fired by Elon Musk.

Friday 4 November 2022 09:15 , Adam Smith

Bruke Falck, who was also fired by Parag Agrawal, offered a similar message.

Elon Musk’s memo to Twitter employees

Friday 4 November 2022 10:00 , Adam Smith

Elon Musk’s memo to Twitter employees, telling them they have been fired, can be read below.

Team,

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 recognize 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.

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.

- If you do not receive an email from twitter-hr@ by 5PM PST on Friday Nov. 4th, please email peoplequestions@twitter.com.

To help ensure the safety of each employee as well as Twitter systems and customer data, our offices will be temporarily closed and all badge access will be suspended. If you are in an office or on your way to an office, please return home.

We acknowledge this is an incredibly challenging experience to go through, whether or not you are impacted. Thank you for continuing to adhere to Twitter policies that prohibit you from discussing confidential company information on social media, with the press or elsewhere.

We are grateful for your contributions to Twitter and for your patience as we move through this process.

Thank you.

Twitter

Friday 4 November 2022 10:30 , Adam Smith

In Twitter’s internal Slack, some employees complained about the lack of communication.

“I truly wish you all well - for your sake, for the sake of your teams, and for the sake of the many people and communities this product serves,” one data scientist wrote in a Slack message addressed to leadership that was seen byThe Verge.

“But I also hope [the] failure of this past week hangs heavy on you to remind you to do better.”

Elon Musk kills ‘algorithmic transparency' team

Friday 4 November 2022 11:00 , Adam Smith

Among the numerous Twitter firings includes Elon Musk killing the team behind algorithmic choice and transparency.

Employees in the UK are waiting to be fired

Friday 4 November 2022 12:30 , Adam Smith

Many Twitter employees in the UK have been locked out of their work accounts, without knowing if they have their jobs.

Updates will reportedly come by 4pm today.

Twitter exodus should ‘reshape industry'

Friday 4 November 2022 14:00 , Adam Smith

Simon Balmain, a senior community manager for Twitter in the UK, told the BBC that he had been logged out of his work laptop and Slack.

“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 and access to Slack and Gmail revoked,” he said.

“I was working mostly LA (Los Angeles) hours because of the projects I was on, so was still awake when it happened.

He added the “exodus of talent” from this layoff will reshape the whole technology industry as we know it.

Verification under Elon Musk

Friday 4 November 2022 15:00 , Adam Smith

Twitter Blue subscribers would not need their identities authenticated to get the check mark, the New York Times reports.

Internal documents say there would be “an interim period where the check would be on both Blue subscribers accounts and previously verified users.”

Verified users that do not subscribe to Twitter Blue will lose the check marks.

There are currently over 423,000 verified accounts on Twitter.

Is Elon Musk’s plan for Twitter the same as Bill Gates’ for email?

Friday 4 November 2022 18:00 , Adam Smith

Elon Musk’s notion to charge its most prominent users, or enact paid-for messaging, is similar to the plans of another tech billionaire.

Bloomberg recalls how, in 2003, Bill Gates suggested users be required to pay for a digital stamp to use email - but the idea was widely hated.

In a year, he had backtracked. “We firmly believe that monetary charges would be inappropriate and contrary to the fundamental purpose of the Internet as an extremely efficient and inexpensive medium for communications,” he wrote in 2004.

Elon Musk fires Twitter’s human rights team as part of sweeping layoffs at platform

Friday 4 November 2022 21:29 , Graeme Massie

Elon Musk fired Twitter’s entire human rights team as part of sweeping layoffs the billionaire implemented at the social media platform.

The billionaire fired employees across Twitter on Friday, a week after the world’s richest person closed his protracted $44bn deal for the San Francisco-based company.

Elon Musk fires Twitter’s human rights team as part of sweeping layoffs at platform

British tabloid gives Elon Musk the ‘lettuce’ treatment

Friday 4 November 2022 21:49 , Graeme Massie

The Daily Star famously did a countdown of who would last longer, a lettuce or former British Prime Minister Liz Truss, with the lettuce coming out victorious.

Now the newspaper has run a lettuce on its front page next to a picture of Mr Musk, after a Twitter employee took the challenge amid widespread firings at the social media platform the billionaire bought for $44bn.

Twitter employees ‘treated appallingly’

Friday 4 November 2022 22:01 , Graeme Massie

“Twitter is treating its people appallingly”, said Mike Clancy, general secretary of Prospect union.

“These are people who have invested their time, effort and enthusiasm in building the platform, which risks being thrown away.

“The government must make clear to Twitter’s new owners that we won’t accept a digital P&O and that no-one is above the law in the UK, including Big Tech barons. That must include making sure UK staff’s full employment rights are properly protected.

“We are supporting our members at Twitter and will be working with them to defend them and their livelihoods.

Twitter sued for mass layoffs

Friday 4 November 2022 23:01 , Graeme Massie

A class-action lawsuit has already been filed against Twitter.

The federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act stops large companies from firing employees en masse without at least 60 days notice.

“We filed this lawsuit tonight in an attempt the make sure that employees are aware that they should not sign away their rights and that they have an avenue for pursuing their rights,” Shannon Liss-Riordan, the attorney who filed Thursday’s complaint, said, Bloomberg reports.

Twitter’s Head of Safety & Integrity insists ‘core moderation capabilities remain in place'

Friday 4 November 2022 23:15 , Graeme Massie

Yoel Roth took to Twitter to try and reassure users and advertisers that the large-scale layoffs at the company had not impact its moderation capabilities.

“While we said goodbye to incredibly talented friends and colleagues yesterday, our core moderation capabilities remain in place,” he wrote on Friday.

“Yesterday’s reduction in force affected approximately 15% of our Trust & Safety organization (as opposed to approximately 50% cuts company-wide), with our front-line moderation staff experiencing the least impact. Last week, for security reasons, we restricted access to our internal tools for some users, including some members of my team. Most of the 2,000+ content moderators working on front-line review were not impacted, and access will be fully restored in the coming days.”

And he insisted that Twitter remained focussed on “election integrity” just days before the midterm elections.

“With early voting underway in the US, our efforts on election integrity — including harmful misinformation that can suppress the vote and combatting state-backed information operations — remain a top priority.”

Musk breaks silence on Twitter firings

Friday 4 November 2022 23:29 , Graeme Massie

The platform’s billionaire new owner took to Twitter on Friday to explain why half of the company’s 7,500 staff had been let go.

“Regarding Twitter’s reduction in force, unfortunately there is no choice when the company is losing over $4M/day. Everyone exited was offered 3 months of severance, which is 50% more than legally required,” he tweeted.

Musk says hate speech down ‘at times’ on Twitter as he blames media

Friday 4 November 2022 23:45 , Graeme Massie

Elon Musk has claimed that hate speech is actually down ‘at times’ on Twitter since he took over the social media platform.

Musk took to Twitter on Friday to try and reassure users and advertisers, many of whom have paused their ad spending since the billionaire’s $44bn purchase.

“Again, to be crystal clear, Twitter’s strong commitment to content moderation remains absolutely unchanged. In fact, we have actually seen hateful speech at times this week decline *below* our prior norms, contrary to what you may read in the press,” he tweeted.

Will governments remain verified?

00:03 , Graeme Massie

The documents account for “government accounts to keep their Verified badge without paying for Blue”, according to internal documents.

Twitter Blue will also come with some other features: “You will also get: priority in replies, mentions & search, which is essential to defeat spam/scam; Ability to post long video & audio – half as many ads”, Mr Musk tweeted.

Elon Musk confirms price of Twitter blue tick