There are concerns that Twitter could break down due to a lack of critical staff, while Musk has reportedly closed the company’s offices over sabotage fears.
Hundreds of staff are estimated to be leaving Twitter after new owner Elon Musk gave them an ultimatum: sign up for “long hours at high intensity” or leave.
On Wednesday (16 November), Musk told staff they had to sign a pledge to work harder at “Twitter 2.0” by 5pm Eastern time on Thursday, or leave with three months of severance pay.
The response among Twitter’s remaining staff may not be what Musk intended. According to The Verge’s Alex Heath, hundreds of employees indicated on the company’s Slack pages that they would take the severance option.
The number of staff choosing to leave is unclear, but sources told Heath that it could be more than 1,000.
Hearing from multiple employees that the odds of Twitter breaking in the near future are very high.
— Alex Heath (@alexeheath) November 17, 2022
Twitter has already lost a large amount of staff since Musk’s takeover late last month, as the new owner halved its headcount and left the company with around 3,000 employees. The company has also faced senior leadership losses after various executives resigned.
Multiple “critical” teams inside Twitter have now either completely or near-completely resigned, according to employees speaking with The Verge. Staff members are reportedly concerned that Twitter could break down in the near future due to the reduced staff count.
“Some teams, such as the engineering team that manages Twitter’s core system libraries, are completely gone now,” Heath said on Twitter.
A current employee and a recently departed employee told Reuters that Musk has been meeting with some of Twitter’s top employees to try and convince them to stay.
Fears of sabotage
Around one hour after the ultimatum deadline, Twitter’s offices were suddenly shut down. Employees were informed that all Twitter buildings are temporarily closed and that the ability to use ID access to enter was being suspended, two people familiar with the company’s action told Insider.
Platformer’s Zoe Schiffer tweeted that this is reportedly because Musk and his team are “terrified” that staff will take measures to sabotage Twitter.
A Slack message seen by Insider said the office closures was intended to “prevent physical sabotage while they sort out access revocations”.
Twitter’s communications have not been clear since Musk’s takeover, so it is currently unknown what the situation is within offices in other countries such as Ireland. Prior to the recent mass layoffs, Twitter employed 500 staff at its Dublin base.
Following recent upheavals at Twitter, a source familiar with the matter told TechCrunch that the company no longer fulfils key obligations to claim Ireland as its main base in the EU under GDPR.
Twitter met with the Irish data watchdog this week following reports of some key figures leaving the company last week, including head of trust and safety Yoel Roth, chief information security officer Lea Kissner, chief compliance officer Marianne Fogarty and chief privacy officer Damien Kieran.
Musk has shared little information about the current situation within the company, choosing instead to post memes on his Twitter page.
10 things you need to know direct to your inbox every weekday. Sign up for the Daily Brief, Silicon Republic’s digest of essential sci-tech news.