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How Twitter Staff Learnt They were Fired

“It was a strange week,” says a former employee. (File)

San Francisco:

The whirlwind week that Elon Musk took over Twitter started with sleepless nights for corporate engineers — and ended with half the staff getting the axe.

“It was a strange week,” said a former employee on condition of anonymity.

“Executives were fired or resigned, but there was basically no official communication until 5 p.m. Thursday,” some seven days after the deal was made official.

The employees received a first email on Thursday informing them that they would know their fate the next day. On Friday, the second email confirmed the rumours: 50 percent of staff lost their jobs.

The cull hit the marketing department hard, taking up two-thirds of the design department and perhaps 75 percent of the managers. Content moderation was spared somewhat, with a layoff rate of just 15 percent, according to Yoel Roth, head of security at the platform.

After 24 hours without addressing the layoffs, Musk finally tweeted that “unfortunately there is no choice when the company loses more than $4 million a day” and that all those who lost their jobs “were fired for three months”.

The dismissal decision came as no surprise to the workers – the rumors had grown – but they were shocked by how brutally it was being carried out.

“People wouldn’t find out through a phone call or an email… but just by automatically restarting their work laptop and seeing it empty,” Emmanuel Cornet, a French engineer who has worked at Twitter for a year and a half, told AFP. on Friday.

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– Classic suit –

Cornet was fired on Tuesday after he was told in an email that he had “violated” several company policies, without explanation, after spending an entire weekend in the office working on projects launched at the behest of the new owner.

“I’m still trying to figure out what the real reason is,” he said.

The Tesla CEO had engineers parachuting from his flagship to assess the work of Twitter developers, particularly the amount of code produced by each, Cornet said.

He is one of five former Twitter employees to file a class action lawsuit against the company for failing to receive the 60-day notice required by the federal Warn Act of 1988 in the case of a factory closure or mass layoff.

The French expat said many of his fired colleagues were in an unenviable position “in the field of health insurance or visas”.

“Some were on parental leave. A colleague gave birth yesterday, but is being fired today.”

The dismissed employees must continue to adhere to the company’s rules during the notice period. Many fear that the new management will look for excuses to accuse them of wrongdoing and not pay them severance pay.

“If someone says something contemptuous, or does something that would allow them to fire them, they will do that instead of resigning,” the former employee said anonymously.

– A summer exodus –

For six months, the platform’s employees had been preparing for the possibility that the world’s richest man would take power.

He is preceded by his reputation, from the punishing work paces in his factories to his rejection of telecommuting, which is very popular in the tech sector, and his absolutist view of freedom of speech, which his opponents argue can only lead to intimidation. , disinformation and a tolerance for hate speech.

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This summer, more than 700 people left alone, before they knew whether the $44 billion acquisition would go through.

The radical change in corporate culture was already confirmed last Friday, when teams of engineers were mobilized to redesign certain functions in a very short time, while their work was at stake.

“There were probably too many layers of management… Twitter was not a well-oiled, efficient machine,” said the anonymous ex-employee. “But I don’t know if[the mass layoffs]are going to fix it.”

“I think a lot of people left now will leave, and maybe that’s what Elon wants,” he added.

“I feel sorry for anyone who hasn’t been fired (to be honest). Elon will be running those who are left behind with his crazy ideas,” commented James Glynn, a London-based content moderation team leader who was fired.

“Every form of Twitter we knew before is dead.”

(This story was not edited by NDTV staff and was generated automatically from a syndicated feed.)

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