Elon Musk has now purged roughly half of Twitter’s 7,500 employees, leaving entire teams completely or nearly gutted, including those tasked with defending against election misinformation ahead of next week̵[ads1]7;s US midterms. The Verge have learned.
The areas of Twitter most affected by Musk’s cuts include product trust and safety, policy, communications, tweet curation, ethical AI, data science, research, machine learning, social good, accessibility and even certain core engineering teams, according to tweets by laid-off employees and people familiar with the matter. Several company executives, including Arnaud Weber, VP of consumer product engineering, and Tony Haile, a senior director of product who oversees Twitter’s work with news publishers, have also been laid off following Musk’s firings of Twitter’s top management last week.
“Crap is going to break.”
Given the sweeping nature of Musk’s layoffs and his mandate to cut costs in areas like cloud computing, remaining employees said on Twitter The Verge that they expect the company to have difficulty maintaining critical infrastructure in the short term. “Crap is going to break,” said one current employee, who requested anonymity to speak without the company’s permission, while another called management’s layoff process “an absolute shitshow.”
Musk’s cuts began Thursday night, shortly after an unsigned memo was sent internally confirming the company would “go through the difficult process of reducing our global workforce.” Affected employees quickly realized they were banned from their work accounts well before being notified of their job status by another unsigned email titled “Your role on Twitter.”
According to emails sent to laid-off employees and an internal FAQ obtained by The Verge, those affected will continue to be paid and receive benefits until dates that appear to correspond to the length of the mass termination notice required by US federal and state law. If they sign a “Release of All Claims” document and separation agreement, all US employees will receive one month’s base salary as severance pay taxed at the higher supplemental income rate.
Meanwhile, employees in other countries have been notified that their roles have been “identified as potentially impacted or at risk of termination” and that they should continue to follow company guidelines until more information is shared. The employee FAQ says that “approximately 50% of the workforce will be affected” by the layoffs, confirming a discussion that was accidentally made visible inside Twitter’s Slack two days ago.
Employees who were not laid off on Friday received a separate email to their work addresses saying the company’s internal directory, Birdhouse and office badge access would be closed until Monday 7 November. Before Birdhouse was shut down, Musk had nearly 90 direct reports listed, according to screenshots seen by The Verge.
“He looks forward to communicating with everyone about his vision for the company soon.”
“Over the past week, Elon has spent time with a variety of employees, customers, partners, decision makers and Twitter users,” the unsigned email to remaining employees said, according to a copy you can read in full at the bottom of this story. “He looks forward to communicating with everyone about his vision for the company soon.”
According to Musk’s merger agreement with Twitter and an internal employee FAQ from October The Verge, he agreed to pay terminated employees severance packages that would at least match what Twitter was offering before the deal was terminated. The FAQ says Twitter’s severance package before Musk’s acquisition was two months of base salary, or “on target earnings” for sales staff on incentive plans, along with an employee’s performance bonus paid “on target”, a cash contribution for health care, and cash value of equity that “would have earned within three months from the date of separation.”
Some Twitter employees have already filed a lawsuit against the company alleging that the company violated the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) and California’s WARN Act, which requires companies to give at least 60 days notice before a mass firing. Others told The Verge they are consulting their lawyers about the discrepancy between Musk’s one-month severance pay and what he agreed to pay before the merger.
Twitter had no comment on this story by press time. The company’s communications department is almost completely gone as of Friday.
Here’s the full email Twitter employees who survived the layoffs received Friday:
Thank you for your patience through this transition and for your commitment to the important work you do on Twitter. We are sending this email to confirm that your employment is not affected by the current workforce reduction.
Over the past week, Elon has spent time with a variety of employees, customers, partners, decision makers and Twitter users. He looks forward to communicating with everyone about his vision for the company soon.
We know you probably have a lot of questions, and we’ll have more information to share next week. In the meantime, please note that until Monday the Birdhouse is temporarily offline, our office buildings are temporarily closed and all access to tags is temporarily suspended. The offices will reopen on Monday 7 November.
Thank you for continuing to show respect for affected colleagues as we navigate these changes. As a reminder, we expect you to continue to comply with company policies by refraining from discussing confidential company information on social media, with the press or elsewhere.
We look forward to working with you on Twitter’s exciting future.
Do you know more about what’s happening inside Twitter? If so, I’d like to chat confidentially. You can reach me by email: email@example.com or through the contact form on my Linktree. Then we can set up a secure thread on Signal.