Twitter begins layoffs

Twitter announced yesterday in an email that employees will find out later today if they are being laid off. The company temporarily closed its offices this morning and cut workers’ access to internal systems.

“In an effort to place Twitter on a healthy path, we will go through the difficult process of reducing our global workforce on Friday,” the email, as seen by Reuters, said.

Employees have been told that if they receive an email from their work emails with the subject line “Your role at Twitter”, their job is safe. But if they receive an email from their personal account, they are being let go.

So far, two Canadian senior leaders at Twitter have been laid off, Financial Post reported. Paul Burns, managing director of the company’s Canadian operations, and Michele Austin, Twitter’s director of public policy for the U.S. and Canada announced their departures on Twitter today.

According to internal plans, reviewed by Reuters, Elon Musk is looking to lay off 3,700 employees, or about half the workforce, as part of his cost-cutting plans.

The company also fired 90 per cent of its staff in India over the weekend, leaving just a dozen, Bloomberg reported.

Earlier last week, Musk dissolved Twitter’s board of directors and brought his high-profile allies into the company.

Since his acquisition of the social media platform, Musk has promised numerous reforms, including “restoring free speech”, reviewing how Twitter verifies accounts, establishing an internal fact-checking medium, stripping away moderation tools from the platform, and charging US$8 monthly for the “verified” blue tick on users’ profiles.

The content moderation team in particular dreads being targeted in today’s round of job cuts, according to tweets by Twitter staff.

Despite Musk’s promises to prevent Twitter from descending in a ‘hellscape’, chaos and confusion at the company persists, as advertisers threaten to withdraw from the platform and celebrities speak out against the $8 charge for the blue tick.

US comedian Kathy Griffin was suspended from the platform after impersonating Musk. Musk warned that there will be an immediate ban on accounts pretending to be someone else without flagging them as parodies.

According to Bloomberg, Twitter employees have now filed a class action lawsuit in San Francisco federal court against the company, following the mass layoffs. Workers argue that Twitter violates the US Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, by not giving employees enough notice. Under the labour law, companies with 100 or more employees are required to notify them of mass layoffs 60 days in advance.

The plaintiffs have asked the court to issue an order forcing Twitter to abide by the WARN Act and prohibit the company from asking employees to sign away their right to litigate.

Less than two days after Twitter cut off half of its workforce, the company is now asking some workers to return to work, Bloomberg reported on Sunday. Reportedly, the company either fired some workers by accident or did not realize that their experience was essential to building the features that Musk wants for the platform.

The story will be updated.

Updated 12:25 PM, Friday with news of Canadian senior staff layoffs and U.S. the class action lawsuit

Updated 11:15 AM, Monday with news of 90 per cent of India staff laid off, Kathy Griffin ban, Twitter asking workers to return to work

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Ashee Pamma
Ashee Pamma
Ashee is a writer for ITWC. She completed her degree in Communication and Media Studies at Carleton University in Ottawa. She hopes to become a columnist after further studies in Journalism. You can email her at [email protected]

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