The worst fears of Twitter employees have come true.
Purge: Corporate Twitter edition has begun.
In a memo posted on Thursday night (3 Nov), all employees were told that they would receive an email by 9am Pacific Time on Friday to let them know if they were still employed at the company.
The contents of the memo were quite cut and dry.
While non-disclosure agreements and corporate confidentiality does exist, it just requires one employee to spill the tea before the whole world knows.
Apparently, all of Twitter offices were closed as of Thursday and staff badge access was also suspended to ensure the safety of the employees, Twitter systems and customer data.
If anyone was in the office or was on their way to the office when the memo went out, they were asked to go home to wait for the email that would decide their fate.
The first paragraph of the memo 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 recognize 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.”
Then, like some kind of telltale game, Twitter employees were told they had three possible endings:
- If they are still employed, they will receive a notification via their Twitter email.
- If their job is terminated, they will receive a notification with the next steps to take via their personal email.
- If they do not receive an email by the stated time, they need to email [email protected].
The memo also advises the employees to check their spam folder, just in case.
Twitter goes on to acknowledge that this is “an incredibly challenging experience” for the entire team, regardless of whether their jobs are impacted.
“We are grateful for your contributions to Twitter and for your patience as we move through this process,” Twitter said, before ending off with a “Thank you”.
The String of Terminations
In truth, this move is not surprising in the least.
Prior to completing the acquisition deal, Elon Musk had already hinted that he wanted to cut down the number of employees at Twitter.
Last week, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX had lamented in a tweet that “there seem to be 10 people “managing” for every one person coding”.
The day he stepped into the San Francisco headquarters, he fired four top executives— namely Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Parag Agrawal, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Ned Segal, general counsel Sean Edgett and legal affairs and policy chief Vijaya Gadde.
His purge also extended to the employees sitting atop the social media company’s advertising, marketing, and human resource divisions.
Shortly after the memorandum was delivered, hundreds took to the company’s Slack channels to give their farewells, according to Reuters.
It appears that Musk wants to accomplish the layoffs as swiftly and abruptly as possible, since managers were also forbidden from calling team meetings or being in direct communication with the other staff.
This comes after Musk allegedly asked the managers for a list of employees that could be laid off.
Additionally, the new owner of Twitter has also directed the teams to find a way to cut down on the costs of infrastructure and get the amount to $1 billion, if at all possible.
Good thing Twitter is laying off so many people, otherwise it would be a trial to empty out the offices to sell them.
(Please note the sarcasm here.)
Pauses in Advertising
The decisions that Musk has made thus far have shaken up the social media platform thoroughly.
Based on the Daily Mail’s reporting, brands such as Audi, General Mills, Pillsbury, Betty Crocker, Häagen-Dazs, Oreo-manufacturer Mondelez International and pharmaceutical giant Pfizer have paused their Twitter advertisement spending.
IPG, an advertising holding company that represents major brands such as Coca-Cola and American Express have told their clients to pause their Twitter ads for the next week, until a substantive update on how the platform will serve its advertisers is articulated.
Carmakers, who are competitors with Tesla, are especially worried about discriminatory treatment under Musk. As such, General Motors has announced that it had “temporarily paused” all paid advertising on the social platform.
The drop in brand confidence is contrary to the aspirations that Elon Musk has, as seen from a public tweet he had written to Twitter advertisers.
The self-declared “Chief Twit” wrote, “Fundamentally, Twitter aspires to be the most respected advertising platform in the world that strengthens your brand and grows your enterprise.”
In order for that to happen, you need to have brands who are willing to advertise on your platform first.
As a matter of fact, some advertisers have shared they would boycott Twitter if former US President Donald Trump was allowed to return.
Another media buyer at an ad agency revealed that the agency would be meeting with Musk soon to ask the CEO how he plans to handle the misinformation on the social media platform.
The buyer also wishes to know how Musk’s initial pledge faces up with his own actions, considering how he had made a tweet perpetuating a baseless conspiracy theory about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband over the Halloween weekend.
Heck, the advertisers do not even know who their point of contact is after a whole group of senior executives have departed from the company.
To make matters worse, Musk has voiced his dislike for advertising in 2019, and if he continues to hold this stance, he risks alienating the advertisers who make up more than 90% of Twitter’s revenue.
It has barely been a week and it appears that Musk’s agenda to relax content restrictions and unban Donald Trump is running afoul with obstructions.
While meetings with major agencies and advertisers were occurring, Elon Musk’s itchy fingers never stopped.
On 3 November, he made a poll, asking the public whether advertisers should support freedom of speech or political “correctness”.
Nearly 80% of the respondents voted for freedom of speech.
Advertisers should support:
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 2, 2022
Needless to say, it is not helping to resolve the situation at all.
It is only sending more mixed messages to the advertisers.
If major company decisions can be decided by public polls, on a social media platform that has its own fair share of loud trolls and contrarians, what will become of Twitter?
The end may be nigh for Twitter because of Musk.
In any case, the billionaire seems to know what his next greatest problem will be as he has changed his Twitter bio to “Twitter Complaint Hotline Operator” and stated that his location is in “Hell”.
Out of the 7,500 employees, at least half of them will not be happy—either for themselves or their colleagues—once the emails come down.
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