The crisis on Twitter reached a new peak on Thursday night when it was reported that hundreds of employees rejected Elon Musk’s ultimatum to continue working for the company, threatening its ability to continue operating.
When the company temporarily closed its offices to staff, Twitter users began saying goodbye and linking to accounts on other platforms.
#RIPTwitter, #TwitterDown, Mastodon and Myspace all trended on the platform after the deadline passed on Musk’s ultimatum for the remaining workforce to sign up for “long hours at high intensity” or leave. It has been estimated that hundreds of the remaining staff chose to go.
The departures include many engineers responsible for fixing bugs and preventing service interruptions, raising questions about the stability of the platform amid the loss of employees and sparking hasty debates among managers about who should be asked back, current and former employees said.
In an early sign that the number of people refusing to sign was higher than anticipated, Musk eased a return-to-office mandate he had issued a week ago, telling employees Thursday they would be allowed to work independently. remote if their managers claimed they were making “an excellent contribution.”
Twitter later announced via email that it was closing “our office buildings” and disabling employee badge access until Monday, the New York Times reported.
Online, users speculated that the site could go down in a matter of hours or days.
On Thursday night, the version of the Twitter app used by employees began to slow down, according to a source familiar with the matter, who estimated that the public version of Twitter was at risk of breaking overnight. The DownDetector website reported a significant increase in user reports of issues on the site.
“If it breaks, there is no one left to fix things in many areas,” said the person, who declined to be named for fear of retaliation.
The news caused an outpouring of grief on the platform and led many users to link their Instagram or Mastodon accounts as an alternative.
US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted that she could be found on Instagram or via email.
He followed up with a tweet saying that the employees who built the company deserved better. Greetings to all Twitter workers. You all built a vital place for connection and you deserved so much better,” she said.
Official government accounts also began providing means to be found elsewhere.
Musk met with some of the best employees to try to convince them to stay, said a current employee and a recently departed employee who was in contact with Twitter colleagues.
In a private chat on Signal with about 50 Twitter employees, nearly 40 said they had decided to leave, according to the former employee.
And in a private Slack group for current and former Twitter employees, some 360 people joined a new channel titled “voluntary layoff,” a person with knowledge of the Slack group said.
A separate survey on Blind asked employees to estimate what percentage of people would leave Twitter based on their perception. More than half of those surveyed estimated that at least 50% of employees would leave.
While it’s unclear how many employees chose to stay, the numbers highlight the reluctance of some staff members to stay at a company where Musk hastily laid off half of his employees, including senior management, and is ruthlessly changing. culture to emphasize long hours and intense pace.
Twitter, which has lost many of its communications team, did not respond to a request for comment.
Blue hearts and greeting emojis flooded the site and its internal chat rooms on Thursday, the second time in two weeks that Twitter employees had laid off.
As of 6 p.m. EST, more than two dozen Twitter employees in the United States and Europe had announced their departures in public Twitter posts reviewed by Reuters, though each resignation could not be independently verified.
Earlier on Wednesday, Musk had sent an email to Twitter employees, saying: “Moving forward, to build a revolutionary Twitter 2.0 and succeed in an increasingly competitive world, we will need to be extremely tough.”
The email asked the staff to click “yes” if they wanted to stay. Those who did not respond by 5 p.m. ET Thursday would be considered to have resigned and received a severance package, the email said.
As the deadline approached, employees scrambled to figure out what to do.
A team within Twitter decided to take the leap together and leave the company, a departing employee told Reuters.
In an apparent blow to Musk’s call for employees to be “hardcore,” Twitter profile bios of several engineers who left Thursday described themselves as “soft engineers” or “ex-hardcore engineers.”
Reuters contributed to this report.