/ 18 November 2022

Turmoil for Twitter employees stunned by erratic Elon Musk demands

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Elon Musk cut Twitter's workforce in half shortly after taking over last month, eliminating about 3 700 jobs in cost-cutting measures. (Muhammed Selim Korkutata / Anadolu Agency)

Twitter employees are marching to the exit door. International media reported on Friday that new Twitter chief executive Elon Musk’s directives this week have compromised staff morale — potentially leaving the company exposed because of severe capacity issues.

Musk cut the social media company’s workforce in half shortly after taking over last month, eliminating about 3 700 jobs in cost-cutting measures. He later gave the remaining employees an ultimatum whereby they had to sign up for long working hours or leave. Musk titled the new workspace rule as “Twitter 2.0”. 

He originally set a deadline of last Thursday to say yes to the “extremely hardcore” new dispensation, which included a bar on working from home. Hundreds of employees are reported to have rejected this ultimatum, threatening the company’s ability to keep operating.

In later internal emails obtained by The Verge, Musk seemed to soften his stance but warned managers to approve remote work at their own risk. 

“Regarding remote work, all that is required for approval is that your manager takes responsibility for ensuring that you are making an excellent contribution,” he wrote. 

“It is also expected that you have in-person meetings with your colleagues on a reasonable cadence, ideally weekly, but not less than once per month.

“At risk of stating the obvious, any manager who falsely claims that someone reporting them is doing excellent work or that a given role is essential, whether remote or not, will be exited from the company.”

A workplace poll by the app Blind, found that 42% of 180 respondents opted for the option “Taking exit option, I’m free!” A quarter said they would reluctantly stay while only 7% clicked ” yes to stay, I’m hardcore.”

It is reported that those who rejected Musk’s demands included many engineers responsible for fixing bugs and preventing service outages, raising questions about the stability of the platform, The Guardian reported. 

Further adding to the sense of turmoil was Twitter’s decision to temporarily close all its offices and suspend badge access for staff until Monday. 

Unbothered, Musk took to Twitter and tweeted memes mocking the expected #RIPTwitter downfall and said Twitter usage was at an “all-time high”. 

On Tuesday he tweeted a photograph with two employees who he welcomed back. Musk then added a thread to this tweet, “It is important to admit when I’m wrong & firing them was one of my biggest mistakes.”

After multiple Twitter employees warned that the platform might be a thing of the past, Twitter users were finding alternatives. 

American politician and activist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted that she could be found on Instagram or contacted on email. “As a backup, follow me on Instagram, same handle. It really is me there, as it is here. Or sign up for emails, where I’ll share any other platforms I join.”

In October Musk bought the social media company for $44 billion. Musk was praised for this purchase by former United States president Donald Trump, whose Twitter account was suspended before Musk took over. 

Trump posted on his own platform, Truth Social, and said “I am very happy that Twitter is now in sane hands.”