Twitter risks grow as employees reject Musk’s ‘hardcore’ ultimatum

Twitter Reportedly To Cut 50 Percent Of Its Workforce, Under New Elon Musk Ownership

David Odisho/Getty Images News

The problems of a post-Elon Musk Twitter (TWTR) could be reaching an existential level as speculation that company will not continue in its current form grew Friday following another employee exodus.

Hundreds of workers, including many key software developers and engineers, decided to quit on Thursday rather than sign up for Musk’s “extremely hardcore” culture at the company, according to published reports citing sources and employee Slack messages.

The new Twitter chief set a 5 p.m. ET deadline Thursday for employees to click a link and commit to Twitter 2.0 and “working long hours at high intensity.” Instead, many employees decided to take the three months severance alternative.

In response to the exodus, Twitter is closing offices, as it did after the initial big wave or layoffs, as it determines who is still with the company.

“Effective immediately, we are temporarily closing our office buildings and all badge access will be suspended. Offices will reopen on Monday, November 21st,” the company said in a memo obtained by Bloomberg. “Thank you for your flexibility. Please continue to comply with company policy by refraining from discussing confidential company information on social media, with the press or elsewhere.”

Tweeting goodbyes: On Twitter Friday morning, the hashtags #RIPTwitter, #ApparentlyTwitter and #TwitterMigration were trending.

Accounts posted information on what other social media networks they could be found on, such as Mastadon, asked whether work accounts on Meta’s (META) Instagram should be created, and tweeted gallows humor farewells such as the “It has been a privilege” meme of the band playing in the movie Titanic.

Twitter employees also said their goodbyes and sent messages of support on the platform. Still, there is little sign of a meaningful decline in Twitter posts.

The inflection point?: The latest exodus comes after Musk initially fired half of the Twitter staff as he looked to make the company leaner and slash costs. A departure of top executives followed, then Musk reportedly fired a number of employees who had been critical of him in the company Slack.

Yesterday’s decisions were enough for Musk to make moves to retain some staff.

As the “hardcore” deadline approached, Musk’s team held an in-person and videoconference meeting with key undecided employees, but as the deadline passed some began hanging up while the Tesla (TSLA) founder was still speaking, the New York Times reported.

He also appeared to soften his stance on remote work, saying in an e-mail he would no longer make the final decision personally on who could work remotely. But that may have backfired as he put manager jobs on the line for an employee’s remote performance, adding another level of job insecurity.

“Any manager who falsely claims that someone reporting to them is doing excellent work or that a given role is essential, whether remote or not, will be exited from the company,” he said.

Musk said earlier this week he would not be Twitter’s permanent chief.

Marilynn Veness

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