Hundreds of UK staff could be among 3,700 Twitter employees sacked by Elon Musk in single email


Hundreds of UK staff could be among the thousands of Twitter employees set to be sacked by Elon Musk – as the social media platform’s offices in London were locked this evening with workers told to stay at home until next week.

Employees at the social media giant’s two UK offices in London and Manchester were expected to receive an email with the subject ‘Your Role at Twitter’ by 4pm today.

The emails were due to arrive in their personal inboxes as access to their work emails and accounts after members of staff reported being logged out of their work accounts and locked out of laptops.

It comes as part of a cull of 3,700 members of Twitter’s global workforce today as part of Musk’s plan to drive down costs at the company. 

Meanwhile, the company sealed offices for all of its employees today. Twitter’s London headquarters at Piccadilly CIrcus, where it is understood around 1,000 members of staff are based, were deserted this evening with no employees arriving as they were left in the wondering about their futures. 

Inside, any evidence the social media giant had once occupied the building had been erased. Security staff said earlier today there were ongoing refurbishments, refusing to comment further. 

A member of security staff at Twitter’s Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) headquarters in Dublin told reporters that nobody was coming into the office on Friday and employees had been told to stay home.

Another member of security staff locked the revolving doors at the front of the building where around 500 members of staff worked before the layoffs began.

Twitter said its offices will be temporarily closed and all staff badge access will be suspended ‘to help ensure the safety of each employee as well as Twitter systems and customer data’. 

Those who were selected to stay have been informed that the office will remain closed until November 7, and have been urged to ‘refrain from discussing confidential company information.’

Additionally, they will be told of Musk’s ‘vision for the company’ in the coming days, with ‘more information’ to be shared next week.

The email being sent to staff today reads: ‘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.’

The email added: ‘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.’

‘YOU’RE FIRED’ 

Hello,

As shared earlier today, Twitter is conducting a workforce reduction to help improve the health of the company. 

These decisions are never easy and it is with regret that we write to inform you that your role at Twitter has been impacted. 

Today is your last working day at the company, however, you will remain employed by Twitter and will receive compensation and benefits through your separation date of February 2, 2023.

During this time, you will be on a Non-Working Notice period and your access to Twitter systems will be deactivated. 

While you are not expected to work during the None-Working Notice period, you are still required to comply with all company policies, including the Employee Playbook and Code of Conduct.

Within a week, you will receive details of your severance offer, financial resources extending beyond your Non-Working Notice period. 

At that time you will also receive a Separation Agreement and Release of Claims and other offboarding…

 

‘YOU’RE SAFE’ 

Hello,

Thank you for your patience through this transition and for your commitment to the important work you do a Twitter. We are sending this email to confirm that your employment is not impacted by today’s workforce reduction.

Throughout the last week, Elon has spent time with a number of employees, customers, partners, policymakers and Twitter users. He is looking forward to communicating with everyone about his vision for the company soon. We know you likely have a number of questions, and we will have more information to share next week. 

In the meantime, please note that until Monday, Birdhouse is temporarily offline, our office buildings are temporarily closed, and all badge access is temporarily suspended. Offices will reopen on Monday, Nov. 7th.

Thank you for continuing to demonstrate respect for impacted colleagues as we navigate these changes. As a reminder, we expect you to continue to comply with company police 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.

– Twitter 

Employees at the social media giant’s two UK offices in London and Manchester were expected to receive an email with the subject ‘Your Role at Twitter’ by 4pm today. Pictured: Twitter’s Piccadilly Circus HQ 

The social media giant sealed offices for all of its employees today as hundreds in the UK were left unsure of their futures with the company

The social media giant sealed offices for all of its employees today as hundreds in the UK were left unsure of their futures with the company

Twitter said its offices will be temporarily closed and all staff badge access will be suspended 'to help ensure the safety of each employee as well as Twitter systems and customer data'

Twitter said its offices will be temporarily closed and all staff badge access will be suspended ‘to help ensure the safety of each employee as well as Twitter systems and customer data’ 

Owner and CEO of Twitter Elon Musk pictured arriving at the 29th Annual Baron Investment Conference in Manhattan, New York, today

Owner and CEO of Twitter Elon Musk pictured arriving at the 29th Annual Baron Investment Conference in Manhattan, New York, today

Anyone who has found themselves out of a job has been told that they will continue to be employed by Twitter until either January or February 2 next year

Anyone who has found themselves out of a job has been told that they will continue to be employed by Twitter until either January or February 2 next year

Those employees who have been selected to stay have been informed that the office will remain closed until November 7

Those employees who have been selected to stay have been informed that the office will remain closed until November 7

Everything you need to know about Elon Musk’s Twitter sackings: Why is the billionaire firing half of his workforce, what does he want to do with the social media platform – and what will happen to staff? 

How did Twitter get started?

The origins of Twitter date back to 2006, when its founder Jack Dorsey was working at Odeo, a podcasting company. 

After being asked to pitch ideas to his colleagues, Dorsey shared his concept for a new platform which allowed users to share short messages similar to texts. 

In the first ever tweet on March 21, 2006, Dorsey wrote: ‘Just setting up my twttr.’ Twitter made its public debut in July and quickly grew in popularity. 

Why was Musk critical of the platform? 

Musk has long been one of Twitter’s most prominent users, and has regularly tweeted criticism of the platform. 

He’s long claimed it is not sufficiently protective of free speech, focusing on examples such as the ‘incredibly inappropriate’ 2020 blocking of a New York Post article on Hunter Biden, which the company has since said was a mistake.

Musk has also criticised the number of bots on the platform and suggested it was a threat to democracy. 

How did he go about taking control of it? 

On January 31, the billionaire started buying shares of Twitter in near-daily installments, amassing a 5 per cent stake in the company by mid-March. 

In March, he said he was giving ‘serious thought’ to building an alternative to Twitter and began privately contacting Twitter board members, including Dorsey, a friend. 

The next month, Musk was offered a seat on Twitter’s board on the condition he amass no more than 14.9 per cent of the company’s stock, but CEO Parag Agrawal later announced he would not be joining the board after all.

Then, on April 14, Twitter revealed in a securities filing that Musk has offered to buy the company outright for about $44bn (£39bn). This kicked off several months of rollercoaster negotiations, which appeared to fizzle out on May 13 when Musk announced his planned purchase was ‘on hold’ due to a row over bots.  

Several flip-flops followed before he completed his $44bn (£38.1bn) takeover last week. ‘The  bird is freed,’ he tweeted afterwards. 

What changes has he been proposing?

Musk has claimed to be motivated to take over Twitter because it is ‘important for the future of humanity’. The changes he is planning include – 

BLUE TICK FOR $8 A MONTH – Musk wants to bring in a monthly charge for verified users from Monday. This has sparked a backlash, but the billionaire insists it is necessary if the platform is to balance it’s books. 

FREE SPEECH – Musk’s feistiest priority – but also the one with the vaguest roadmap – is to make Twitter a ‘politically neutral’ digital town square for the world’s discourse that allows as much free speech as each country’s laws allow. 

OPEN-SOURCED ALGORITHMS – Musk’s longstanding interest in AI is reflected in one of the most specific proposals he outlined in his merger announcement – the promise of ‘making the algorithms open source to increase trust.’ He’s talking about the systems that rank content to decide what shows up on users´ feeds.

`DEFEATING THE SPAM BOTS’ – ‘Spam bots’ that mimic real people have been a personal nuisance to Musk, whose popularity on Twitter has inspired countless impersonator accounts that use his image and name – often to promote cryptocurrency scams that look as if they’re coming from the Tesla CEO.

AD-FREE TWITTER? Musk has floated the idea of an ad-free Twitter, though it wasn’t one of the priorities outlined in the official merger announcement. He has also spoken out to reassure advertisers Twitter remains a good place to grow their businesses. However, subscribers paying the $8 a month blue tick charge have been promised fewer ads.  

What’s happened to Twitter staff?

As part of his plan to drive down costs since acquiring the social media company for $44bn (£39bn), the world’s richest man plans to cut around 3,700 jobs – about half of Twitter’s workforce.

But employees say the company is eliminating workers without enough notice in violation of federal and California law, Bloomberg reported on Friday, citing a class-action lawsuit filed in a San Francisco federal court.

The company warned staff to brace for firing notices in a memo on Thursday night. It said all employees will receive an email alert by 9am Pacific time Friday letting them know whether they still have a job at the company.

Twitter had a global workforce of some 7,500 employees at the end of 2021. The company said its offices will be temporarily sealed and all staff badge access will be suspended in order ‘to help ensure the safety of each employee as well as Twitter systems and customer data.’

Staff have now sued Musk in the US for not giving them enough notice.     

What could Musk’s approach to moderation look like?

Musk has been very vocal about easing content moderation policies, noting in April that if a tweet includes contents that are ‘a gray area’ it should stay.

But following concerns from advertisers, Musk released an open letter last week in which he reassured them Twitter would not be allowed to become a ‘free for all hellscape’. 

‘Fundamentally,’ he said, ‘Twitter aspires to be the most respected advertising platform in the world that strengthens your brand and grows your enterprise.’

Therefore, much about how Musk will seek to moderate abusive content or disinformation remains unclear. Some Twitter users sought to test his limits today by spreading a fake rumour about Donald Trump being dead.  

Anyone who has found themselves out of a job has been told that they will continue to be employed by Twitter until either January or February 2 next year, depending on their role, though November 4 will be their last working day at the company.

They are not expected to work, and will have their access to Twitter systems deactivated – though some employees reported being kicked out of their accounts almost 12 hours before.

But the email has also instructed staff leaving the company that they are still expected to comply with the employee playbook and code of conduct while they remain on gardening leave.

It added: ‘Within a week, you will receive details of your severance offer, financial resources extending beyond your Non-Working Notice period.

‘At that time you will also receive a Separation Agreement and Release of Claims and other offboarding.’

Employees who lost their jobs have been offered a three month payoff, Musk has said, adding that the company is losing more than 4.0 million US dollars (£3.5 million) a day.

Twitter’s head of safety later said jobs cuts have affected about 15 per cent of the trust and safety department, as opposed to approximately 50 per cent of cuts company-wide.

New owner Musk is thought to want to drastically reduce costs at the company after completing his 44 billion dollar (£39 billion) takeover of the platform last week, since tweeting ‘we need to pay the bills somehow’.

He said on Friday evening: ‘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.’

The billionaire also tweeted a series of posts by head of safety Yoel Roth, which said: ‘Here are the facts about where Twitter’s Trust & Safety and moderation capacity stands today.

‘While we said goodbye to incredibly talented friends and colleagues yesterday, our core moderation capabilities remain in place.

‘Yesterday’s reduction in force affected approximately 15% of our Trust & Safety organisation (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-plus content moderators working on front-line review were not impacted, and access will be fully restored in the coming days.

‘More than 80% of our incoming content moderation volume was completely unaffected by this access change. The daily volume of moderation actions we take stayed steady through this period.”

Musk, followed this with a tweet saying: ‘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.’

Prospect, meanwhile, which represents tech workers, told MailOnline it is still too early to determine exactly how many staff in the UK have been laid off.

‘We haven’t heard yet. We know that a lot of them have had their phones and laptops locked out and some got letters that there jobs might be at risk,’ a spokesperson said.

‘That’s what we understand at the moment. They say there are going to be layoffs globally and we don’t know how that is going to impact London and Manchester.’

One staffer, Jaseem Abid, said he was on call when his laptop was remotely wiped.

He shared his experience on Twitter, revealing he woke up to ‘no slack/gmail/office access and laptop remotely wiped out’.

‘Got fired without even a confirmation email while sleeping? There is always a new low.’

The notification of layoffs caps off a week of high-level purges by Mr Musk, as he demanded deep cost cuts and imposed an aggressive new work ethic across the social media company.

He had already cleared out senior ranks, firing its chief executive and top finance and legal executives.

Others, including those sitting atop the company’s advertising, marketing, and human resources divisions, departed throughout the past week.

Prior to buying Twitter, Musk tweeted that the firm under his ownership ‘will be super focused on hardcore software engineering, design, infosec & server hardware’.

Last week he lamented that ‘there seem to be 10 people ‘managing’ for every one person coding’.

The long-expected layoffs have chilled Twitter’s famously open corporate culture revered by its employees.

Shortly after the email landed in Twitter staff inboxes, hundreds flooded the company’s Slack channels to say goodbye, two employees told Reuters. Someone invited Musk to join the channel, the sources said.

Musk’s first week as Twitter’s owner has been marked by chaos and uncertainty.

Two company-wide meetings were scheduled, only to be canceled mere hours later.

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

‘It feels like we’re working among the Gestapo,’ the person said.

Musk has also directed Twitter Inc’s teams to find up to $1billion (£896m) in annual infrastructure cost savings, according to two sources familiar with the matter and an internal Slack message.

Even as Musk cuts costs, he faces threats to Twitter’s revenue as a growing number of companies pause their advertising on the platform over concerns about whether it will remain ‘safe’ for brands.

‘We have currently paused paid support on Twitter and will continue to evaluate the situation,’ an Audi spokesperson told DailyMail.com on Thursday, one week after the completion of Musk’s buyout.

Likewise, a spokesperson for General Mills, which also makes Pillsbury, Betty Crocker, and Häagen-Dazs, confirmed a pause, saying: ‘We will continue to monitor this new direction and evaluate our marketing spend.’

Carmakers appear especially worried about fair treatment under Musk, who is chief executive of rival Tesla, and last week General Motors announced it had ‘temporarily paused’ all paid advertising on Twitter.

And Oreo-maker Mondelez International and pharmaceutical giant Pfizer have both paused their Twitter ad spending, according to a Wall Street Journal report citing people familiar with the matter.

Spokespersons for Mondelez and Pfizer did not immediately respond to requests for comment from DailyMail.com on Thursday evening.

Twitter has stopped responding to all press inquiries, except for the few that Musk answers by tweet.

He has changed his biography on the app to ‘Twitter Complaint Hotline Operator’, and on Friday appeared to place blame on ‘activist groups pressuring advertisers’.

Musk cited the ‘massive drop in revenue’ and argued ‘nothing has changed with content moderation’.

‘We did everything we could to appease the activists. Extremely messed up! They’re trying to destroy free speech in America.’

Musk last week promised advertisers he would keep Twitter from turning into a ‘free-for-all hellscape’ and is now scrambling to convince them that he will uphold the commitment.

Some advertisers have reportedly vowed to boycott Twitter for good if former president Donald Trump is allowed to return.

Musk said on Wednesday it would be several weeks before a process is in place to reinstate banned accounts.

As the layoffs began, sacked Twitter employees posted on the platform under the ‘#OneTeam’ hashtag about their final hours at the company, expressing a mixture of anger and sadness, and gratitude for their time working there.

Simon Balmain, whose Twitter profile said he was a ‘former Senior Community Manager’ at the company, wrote: ‘Looks like I’m unemployed y’all. Just got remotely logged out of my work laptop and removed from Slack. #OneTeam forever. Loved you all so much. So sad it had to end this way.’

He said he received an email saying there would be mass layoffs, ‘and then around an hour later, folks started getting their laptops remotely wiped and access to Slack and Gmail revoked.’

Another user named Johann told his followers: ‘Heya I just lost access to all my Twitter logins so I guess that’s it.’

Another by the name of Miryam wrote: ‘Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.’ She wrote the message along-side a picture of her posing in front of a large blue Twitter bird mounted on a wall at the offices.

Karen Zapata, another employee, posted a picture of her laptop screen, having been locked out. ‘This gray screen could have been a meeting,’ she wrote – suggesting she was unhappy with how impersonal the sacking was.

One Twitter employee shared a selfie of her and two other colleagues in an elevator which she wrote was at Twitter’s New York City offices. ‘Last teary eyed @TwitterNYC elevator selfie,’ she wrote. The employee, named Rena, also posted that she had been ‘logged out’ of the Twitter Slack channels and her email account.

Rumman Chowdhury, another employee, shared a screenshot showing she had been locked out of her emails. Several other users reported experiencing the same black-out.   

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk