Twitter Latest: Employees get mass layoff emails

(Bloomberg) — Twitter Inc. began notifying employees affected by large-scale job cuts, and some learned they would receive two months’ worth of pay. While this was happening, new owner Elon Musk said the business had suffered a “huge drop” in revenue as many advertisers pulled out.

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In the week after the billionaire took over and promised sweeping changes, workers around the world were checking two email addresses to see if they still had jobs, according to an internal memo sent to employees and seen by Bloomberg. An email to their work account means they’ve been placed on hold. A letter in their personal mailbox means they are fired.

Twitter promised to notify workers by 9 a.m. in San Francisco on Friday and temporarily closed offices and suspended access to badges “to help ensure the safety of each employee, as well as Twitter’s systems and customer data,” the memo said .

Musk plans to eliminate half of Twitter’s workforce to cut costs at the social media platform it acquired for $44 billion last month, people familiar with the matter said. The company must also find ways to deal with interest costs on a huge pile of debt.

“In an effort to put Twitter on a healthy path, we will go through the difficult process of reducing our global workforce on Friday,” Twitter management said in an email reviewed by Bloomberg. “We realize this will affect a number of people who have made valuable contributions to Twitter, but this action is unfortunately necessary to ensure the company’s future success.”

The speed of change is reflected. Twitter has already been sued for failing to give proper notice of the plan to cut around 3,700 jobs.

Some advertisers are also wary of Musk’s plans to overhaul Twitter’s content moderation policy. Volkswagen AG, Europe’s largest carmaker, has joined forces with Pfizer Inc. and General Mills Inc. to temporarily suspend advertising on the platform.

Bloomberg News will capture the news stream here.

Pregnant workers seek answers about health benefits (12:33 pm NY)

Many workers took to the company’s Slack channels and public Twitter posts to say goodbye. They used a blue heart and greeting emoticons to thank their colleagues. But they lacked official information on their next steps. At least two pregnant employees who were laid off were not told about their medical benefits going forward, according to people familiar with the matter. Even the employees who survived the layoffs were dismayed by the way the process unfolded.

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Read the memo sent to employees (12:11 PM NY)

team,

In an effort to put Twitter on a healthy path, we’ll be going through the difficult process of downsizing our global workforce on Friday. We recognize that this will affect a number of individuals who have made valuable contributions to Twitter, but this action is unfortunately necessary to ensure the company’s success going forward.

Read the rest here.

Twitter has ‘huge drop in revenue’, says Musk (10:33am New York)

“Twitter has had a huge drop in revenue due to activist groups putting pressure on advertisers, although nothing has changed with content moderation and we’ve done everything we can to appease activists,” Musk said in a tweet. “Extremely confused! They are trying to destroy free speech in America.

Some employees will receive compensation for two months, lawyer says (10:26 am)

“It looks like the employees are getting their notices and at least some will be paid by Jan. 4,” said Shannon Lees-Riordan, the attorney who filed the class-action lawsuit in California on Thursday. “I’m glad that Elon Musk learned something from the lawsuit we brought against him at Tesla and is making an effort to comply with the WARN Act.” We filed this case as a precaution to ensure that this violation does not happen again.”

Twitter workers join unions ahead of job cuts (12pm London)

Twitter employees in the UK are joining unions in a bid to better protect their employment rights amid massive job cuts announced by the social media platform’s new owner Elon Musk.

“Twitter treats its people terribly,” said Mike Clancy, general secretary of Prospect, a UK-based trade union, which said it had seen an influx of registered employees from Twitter in the past week. Clancy urged the UK government to ensure Twitter does not become a “digital P&O”, referring to the ferry company which cut 800 jobs in March.

“We support our members at Twitter and will work with them to protect them and their livelihoods,” he added.

The British labor group United Tech and Allied Workers also condemned the way employees were treated and encouraged Twitter employees to join.

The UK’s Advice, Conciliation and Arbitration Service says businesses should normally consult about redundancies and inform the government’s Redundancy Payments Office. An ACAS spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the situation.

Ex-CEO Costolo launches Twitter Alumni Network (11.30am London)

Former Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, who left the company in 2015, said his last company has put together a resource for ex-Twitter employees who want to connect and “find out what’s next.”

Costolo is the founder of 01 Advisors, a venture capital and technology startup advisory firm in San Francisco.

Officials notified in Dublin (11am London)

Twitter’s Dublin office, which employs about 500 people, has begun notifying some employees by email, according to Irish news site RTE.

Some employees in the UK also started sharing on Twitter that they had been locked out of their work systems.

A Twitter representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Volkswagen tells brands to stop spending (8.30am London)

Volkswagen, Europe’s largest carmaker, has recommended that all of its brands suspend their paid activities on Twitter until further notice, according to an emailed statement on Friday.

Several advertisers have hit the brakes on placing ads on the platform until they get a clearer picture of Musk’s plans. Musk has said he wants to remove some of the content moderation that has raised concerns that hate speech, misinformation and other potentially harmful material will flourish even more freely. General Mills said it is temporarily suspending advertising on Twitter, joining General Motors Co. in rethinking their platform presence.

Twitter sued over mass layoffs (10:43 pm SF)

Twitter was sued over Musk’s plan to cut jobs at the social media platform, which employees say the company is doing without enough warning in violation of federal and California law. The class-action lawsuit was filed Thursday in San Francisco federal court.

Employees start losing access to email (21:13 SF)

The company began restricting employee access to email and Slack on Thursday evening. Some employees who were denied their work tools suspected that their jobs had already been cut, although they have yet to receive official confirmation.

Job cuts begin

In all, Musk wants to cut about 3,700 jobs at San Francisco-based Twitter, people familiar with the matter said this week. The entrepreneur had begun hinting at his staffing priorities before the deal closed, saying he wanted to focus on the core product. “Software engineering, server operations and design will rule,” he tweeted in early October.

Security staff at Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters made preparations for layoffs while the internal directory used to search for colleagues was shut down Thursday afternoon, people familiar with the matter said. Employees have been preparing for layoffs for weeks. In recent days, they have been racing to connect through LinkedIn and other channels outside of Twitter, offering each other advice on how to cope with losing their jobs, the people said. Former Twitter engineers are also using social media to respond to ex-Tweeps looking to find work elsewhere.

Musk is also vying with advisers to come up with new ways to monetize the blogging platform, including charging for verifications that could help distinguish real users from fake accounts. It is also considering reviving a long-defunct short video tool called Vine, a way to compete with popular video-sharing apps like TikTok. Another product under consideration, the New York Times reports, is paid direct messaging, which would allow rank-and-file employees to send private messages to high-ranking users.

Read more: Musk to restore Twitter content moderation tools ahead of US election

–With help from Kurt Wagner, Olivia Solon, Monica Raymunt, Morwenna Coniam and Thomas Seal.

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