(Bloomberg) — Twitter Inc. began notifying employees affected by a far-reaching round of job cuts, and some learned they’ll be paid for two months. As this was happening, the new owner, Elon Musk, said the business experienced a “massive drop” in revenue as many advertisers withdrew.
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The week after the billionaire took over and promised sweeping changes, workers around the world were checking two email addresses to find out if they still have a job, according to an internal memo sent to employees and seen by Bloomberg. An email to their work account means they’ve been retained. A letter in their personal inbox means they’ve been fired.
Twitter promised to notify workers by 9 a.m. San Francisco time on Friday and temporarily closed offices and suspended badge access “to help ensure the safety of each employee as well as Twitter systems and customer data,” the memo said.
Musk plans to eliminate half of Twitter’s workforce to slash costs at the social media platform he acquired for $44 billion last month, people with knowledge of the matter have said. The company must also find ways to cope with interest costs on a massive debt pile.
“In an effort to place 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 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 going forward.”
The speed of the changes is having repercussions. Twitter has already been sued for not giving proper notice of the plan to eliminate about 3,700 jobs.
Some advertisers are also wary of Musk’s plans to reexamine Twitter’s content moderation policy. Volkswagen AG, Europe’s largest carmaker, joined Pfizer Inc. and General Mills Inc. in temporarily pausing advertising on the platform.
Bloomberg News will capture the news flow here.
Pregnant Workers Seek Answers About Health Benefits (12:33 p.m. NY)
Many workers wrote on company Slack channels and in public Twitter posts to say goodbye. They used blue heart and salute emoji to thank their colleagues. But they lacked official information about their next steps. At least two pregnant staffers who were laid off had no information about their medical benefits going forward, according to people familiar with the matter. Even the employees who survived the cuts were reeling from the way the process occurred.
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Read the Memo Sent to Employees (12:11 p.m. NY)
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.
Read the rest here.
Twitter Has ‘Massive Drop in Revenue’ Musk Says (10:33 a.m. NY)
“Twitter has had a massive drop in revenue, due to activist groups pressuring advertisers, even though nothing has changed with content moderation and we did everything we could to appease the activists,” Musk said in a tweet. “Extremely messed up! They’re trying to destroy free speech in America.”
Some Employees Will Get Severance Pay for Two Months, Lawyer Says (10:26 a.m.)
“It looks like employees are getting their notices and at least some will be paid until January 4,” said Shannon Liss-Riordan, the attorney who filed a class-action lawsuit in California on Thursday. “I am pleased 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 preemptively to make sure a repeat of that violation did not happen.”
Twitter Employees Join Unions Ahead of Job Cuts (12 p.m. London)
Twitter employees in the UK have been joining trade unions in an effort to better protect their employment rights during mass job cuts announced by the social media platform’s new owner Elon Musk.
“Twitter is treating its people appallingly,” said Mike Clancy, General Secretary of Prospect, a UK-based trade union that said it has seen an influx of sign-ups from Twitter employees over the last week. Clancy called on the UK government to ensure that Twitter doesn’t become a “digital P&O,” referring to the ferry company that cut 800 jobs in March.
“We are supporting our members at Twitter and will be working with them to defend them and their livelihoods,” he added.
Britain’s United Tech and Allied Workers labor group also condemned the way employees were treated and encouraged Twitter workers to join.
The UK’s Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service says businesses must generally consult on redundancies and inform the government’s Redundancy Payments Service. An ACAS spokesman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on the situation.
Ex-CEO Costolo Creates Twitter Alumni Network (11:30 a.m. London)
Former Twitter Chief Executive Officer Dick Costolo, who left the company in 2015, said his latest company has put together a resource for former Twitter employees who want to connect and “figure out what’s next.”
Costolo is founder of 01 Advisors, a venture capital and advisory firm for tech startups in San Francisco.
Employees Notified in Dublin (11 a.m. London)
Twitter’s Dublin office, which employs about 500 people, have begun notifying some employees via email, according to Irish news site RTE.
Some employees in the UK also began to share on Twitter that they’d been locked out of their work systems.
A representative for Twitter didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Volkswagen Tells Brands to Pause Spending (8:30 a.m. London)
Volkswagen, Europe’s biggest carmaker, recommended that all of its brands pause their paid activities on Twitter until further notice, according to an emailed statement on Friday.
Several advertisers have tapped the brakes on placing ads on the platform until they get a clearer idea of Musk’s plans. Musk has said he wants to remove some content moderation, giving rise to concerns that hate speech, misinformation and other potentially harmful material will flourish even more freely. General Mills said it’s temporarily pausing advertising on Twitter, joining General Motors Co. in rethinking their presence on the platform.
Twitter Sued for Mass Layoffs (10:43 p.m. SF)
Twitter was sued over Musk’s plan to eliminate jobs at the social-media platform, which workers say the company is doing without enough notice in violation of federal and California law. A class-action lawsuit was filed Thursday in San Francisco federal court.
Employees Start Losing Email Access (9:13 p.m. SF)
The company started cutting employee access to email and Slack on Thursday night. Some employees who were shut out of their work tools suspected their jobs were already cut, though they had received no official confirmation yet.
Job Cuts Begin
All told, Musk wants to cut about 3,700 jobs at San Francisco-based Twitter, people with knowledge of the matter said this week. The entrepreneur had begun dropping hints about his staffing priorities before the deal closed, saying he wants to focus on the core product. “Software engineering, server operations & design will rule the roost,” he tweeted in early October.
Security staff at Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters carried out preparations for layoffs, while an internal directory used to look up colleagues was taken off line Thursday afternoon, people with knowledge of the matter said. Employees have been girding for firings for weeks. In recent days, they raced to connect via LinkedIn and other non-Twitter avenues, offering each other advice on how to weather losing one’s job, the people said. Ex-Twitter engineers are also using social media to respond to former “Tweeps” looking to land jobs elsewhere.
Musk has also been huddling with advisers to come up with new ways to make money from the blogging platform, including charging for verifications, which can help delineate real users from fake accounts. He’s also considering reviving a long-since-discontinued short-video tool called Vine, a way to vie with popular video-sharing apps like TikTok. Another product under consideration, the New York Times reported, is paid direct messages, which would let the rank and file send private messages to high-profile users.
Read more: Musk to Restore Twitter Content Moderation Tools Before US Election
–With assistance from Kurt Wagner, Olivia Solon, Monica Raymunt, Morwenna Coniam and Thomas Seal.
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