According to internal Slack communications viewed by The Verge and employee tweets, hundreds of Twitter’s remaining employees have left the company ahead of Elon Musk’s “very harsh” culture reset of the business.
This latest purge at Twitter comes after Musk recently let go of dozens of workers who had insulted or made fun of him in tweets and internal communications. Musk then gave all staff until Thursday at 5 PM ET to answer “yes” on a Google form if they want to continue for “Twitter 2.0”; if they don’t, today is their last day of work and they will receive a severance payout. Immediately following the deadline, hundreds of workers began sending goodbye comments and salute emojis on Twitter’s Slack, declaring that they had rejected Musk’s demand.
“I’m not pressing the button,” one departing employee posted in Slack. “My watch ends with Twitter 1.0. I do not wish to be part of Twitter 2.0.”
“My watch ends with Twitter 1.0. I do not wish to be part of Twitter 2.0.”
Thanks to Musk abruptly firing about half of the 7,500-person workforce when he took over and the resignations that followed, Twitter had about 2,900 workers left before the deadline on Thursday. Given the volume of resignations, this week, both current and former Twitter employees told The Verge that they anticipate the platform to start experiencing outages soon. One person mentioned that they had seen “renowned engineers” and other people they looked up to depart one at a time.
“It feels like all the people who made this place incredible are leaving,” the Twitter staffer said. “It will be extremely hard for Twitter to recover from here, no matter how hardcore the people who remain try to be.”
According to additional workers who wanted anonymity to talk without Musk’s permission, some “important” teams at Twitter have now either totally or almost completely resigned. This comprises the front-end and traffic teams at Twitter, who direct engineering requests to the appropriate backend services. Every engineer at the company uses the core system libraries that are maintained by the same team that left Twitter. Without this crew, you cannot run Twitter, a leaving worker remarked.
Several members of Twitter’s “Command Center” team, a group of engineers that is on call 24/7 and acts as the clearing house for problems internally, also tweeted about their departures. “If they go down, there is no one to call when shit breaks,” said a person familiar with how the team operates. The team that manages Twitter API for developers has also been severely gutted.
In a tweet Thursday evening, Musk said: “The best people are staying, so I’m not super worried.”
Do you know more about what’s going on inside Twitter? If so, I’d love to chat confidentially. You can reach me via email: at [email protected] or through the contact form on my Linktree. Then we can set up a secure thread on Signal.
His priority as Twitter’s new owner has been to fundamentally reset its work culture. In an email to employees this week that was obtained by The Verge, he wrote: “Going forward, to build a breakthrough Twitter 2.0 and succeed in an increasingly competitive world, we will need to be extremely hardcore. This will mean working long hours at high intensity. Only exceptional performance will constitute a passing grade.”
Musk’s managerial style has become unpopular with many workers, and Musk has grown fearful that they may sabotage the business. According to staff members who attended the discussion, he met with a small group of senior engineers earlier on Thursday to learn why so many of them intended to go. An unsigned email was issued to staff members just after Musk’s deadline to decide whether to stay at the firm passed, informing them that badge access to the offices was “effective immediately” suspended until Monday.
Departing Twitter employees have been told they will receive at least three months of pay, though they haven’t had a chance to review their separation agreements yet. Employees who decide to stay also don’t know how Musk plans to compensate them with the stock now that Twitter is a private company, though he has said that “exceptional” performers will receive stock options like they do at SpaceX, his other privately-held firm.
Meanwhile, Twitter recruiters have already started reaching out to outside engineers to see if they want to join “Twitter 2.0 – an Elon company,” according to a message sent to one recruit that was seen by The Verge.
“I have worked here at Twitter for over 11 years,” one employee wrote in Twitter’s Slack as the salute emojis poured on Thursday. “Back in July, I was the 27th most tenured employee at the company. Now I’m the 15th.”
“Where did all these chopped onions come from,” another employee’s message read.
Departing employees also tweeted their decisions to leave. We’ve collected some that you can see below:
Twitter no longer has a communications department to contact for comment.
Update 12:20 AM ET November 18th: Added more details about Twitter teams impacted by resignations and tweets by Elon Musk.
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