Twitter temporarily closes offices as Elon Musk begins layoffs, including Canadian staff – National

Twitter Inc. temporarily closed its offices and shut down workers’ access to internal systems on Friday after telling employees they would be notified via email later in the day about their possible layoff.

The move follows a week of uncertainty about the company’s future under new owner Elon Musk.

The social media company told staff in an email that it would report staff cuts by 9am Pacific time on Friday.

“In an effort to put Twitter on a healthy path, we will face the difficult process of shrinking our global workforce on Friday,” the e-mail sent Thursday, viewed by Reuters, said.

Canadian staff have been hit by global layoffs

The Canadian press reported Friday that Paul Burns, the company’s Canadian operations chief executive, and Michele Austin, Twitter’s director of public policy for the United States and Canada, had announced on social media on Friday their departure from the tech giant based in. San Francisco.

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“It’s been 4 and a half years wild,” Burns said on Twitter.

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“To the people, friends, partners and tweeps who made this place so special, thank you for all the adventures. I love you so much “.

Burns joined the company in 2018, taking on the company’s leading role in Canada and overseen the creation of its first Canadian engineering hub in recent years.

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Austin has been with Twitter just as long and has held a high-profile role that has seen her represent the company before government committees and help shape election policies.

Austin was “heartbroken” to announce his firing.

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“It was the best, craziest and most rewarding five years of my career,” he wrote on LinkedIn.

“I loved every single minute.”

What’s behind the layoffs?

Musk, the richest person in the world, is looking to cut about 3,700 Twitter employees, or about half of the workforce, as he seeks to cut costs and enforce a demanding new work ethic, according to internal plans reviewed by Reuters. week.

The company’s content moderation team is expected to be impacted, according to tweets from Twitter staff.

Musk has vowed to restore free speech by preventing Twitter from plunging into a “hellish landscape”. However, his assurances failed to stop major advertisers from threatening to withdraw from the platform.

Volkswagen has recommended its brands to suspend paid advertising on Twitter until further notice in the wake of the acquisition of Musk, it said Friday. His comments echoed similar remarks from other companies, including General Motors and General Mills.

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Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Twitter’s “Curation” team, which is responsible for “highlighting and contextualizing the best events and stories taking place on Twitter,” has been eliminated, employees said on the platform. The company’s communications team in India has also been fired, according to a Twitter executive in Asia.

Some staff members reported losing access to internal systems and being unable to send greetings to colleagues.

“It looks like I’m all unemployed. I just got remotely logged out of my work laptop and removed from Slack, “tweeted a user with the @SBkcrn account, whose profile is described as a former senior Twitter community manager.

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Twitter employees vented their frustrations about layoffs on the social network, using the hashtag #OneTeam.

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User Rachel Bonn tweeted: “Last Thursday in the San Francisco office, actually the last day Twitter was Twitter. I am 8 months pregnant and have a 9 month old baby. access to the laptop.

Responding to the #OneTeam thread, Yoel Roth, Head of Safety & Integrity at Twitter, said: “Tweeps: My DMs (direct message paths) are always open to you. Tell me how I can help you”.

Roth was the oldest executive to post publicly messages with a supportive tweet to staff who are losing their jobs. He also seemed to still have his job. Last week, Musk endorsed Roth, citing his “high integrity” after being called out for critical tweets of former US President Donald Trump years earlier.

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Roth did not respond to a request for comment.

Twitter said in the email that its offices would be temporarily closed and all access to badges suspended to “help ensure the safety of each employee as well as Twitter systems and customer data.”

On Friday, the company’s office in Piccadilly Circus, London, seemed deserted, with no employees in sight.

Inside, any evidence that the social media giant had occupied the building had been obliterated. Security personnel said renovations were underway, declining to comment further.

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The company said employees who were not affected by the layoffs would be notified via their work email addresses. Staff who had been fired would be informed of the next steps to their personal email addresses, the memo stated.

A security staff member at Twitter’s headquarters for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) in Dublin told reporters that no one would come into the office on Friday and that employees were being told to stay home.

Another security staff member locked the revolving doors at the front of the building where some 500 staff were working before the layoffs began.

Collective action filed

On Thursday, a class action was filed against Twitter by its employees, who alleged that the company was conducting mass layoffs without providing the required 60-day notice, in violation of federal and California law.

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The lawsuit also asked the San Francisco federal court to issue an order to prevent Twitter from soliciting the dismissal of employees for signing documents without informing them of the pending case.

Musk has ordered Twitter teams to find up to $ 1 billion in annual savings on infrastructure costs, according to two sources familiar with the matter and an internal message from Slack reviewed by Reuters.

He has already eliminated the company’s senior ranks, firing its chief executive and top financial and legal executives. Others, including those who sit at the top of the company’s advertising, marketing, and human resources divisions, left over the past week.

Musk’s first week as a Twitter owner was marked by chaos and uncertainty. Two company-wide meetings were scheduled, only to be canceled a few hours later. Employees told Reuters they were left to piece together information through media reports, private messaging groups, and anonymous forums.

The long-awaited layoffs have cooled Twitter’s famous open corporate culture that has been praised by many of its employees.

“If you are in an office or on your way to the office, please come home,” Twitter said in the email Thursday.

With files from The Canadian Press.


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