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"Don't panic": Elon Musk makes massive layoffs at Twitter

The ax falls today for Twitter employees.

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"Don't panic": Elon Musk makes massive layoffs at Twitter

The ax falls today for Twitter employees. Elon Musk, the new owner and CEO of the blue bird social network did not choose sweetness for his start to his reign: the billionaire who resigned himself at the end of October to keeping his promise to buy Twitter 44 billion has planned savage staff cuts. According to Bloomberg, half of the company's 7,000 employees risk seeing their functions suspended in the coming hours.

Twitter is far from the only tech company to be laid off at the moment (this week alone, Stripe announced a 14% drop in its workforce and Lyft 13%). Elon Musk's method raises questions, however. Twitter's new management has thus taken the decision to temporarily close its premises on the day the layoffs are announced in order, she argues, to "guarantee the safety of employees and computer systems."

Employees must therefore watch for the arrival in their mailbox of an email from management that will deliver the verdict. "If your job is not affected, you will receive a notification on your address at Twitter. If your position is affected, you will receive on your personal email, a message containing details on the steps to follow", specifies an email from the direction sent to the teams on Thursday.

"Mass layoffs are not uncommon in Silicon Valley, but even there, it's rare for it to be done by email. The harshness of the process is rightly shocking," says Diego Ferri, Fabernovel's strategy director. Uber had also sparked outrage in 2020 when it fired 3,500 employees in three minutes on Zoom.

The deleterious atmosphere within Twitter is felt in the reactions of employees. Rumman Chowdhury, director of the team in charge of the ethics of transparency and responsibility of Twitter who finds this Friday morning not being able to connect to his professional email, quips "has it already started? Happy layoff party!" before joking about feeling "relieved to be targeted by Thanos' snap of the finger

The emotion is however palpable in the exchanges of the employees. "When staff cuts were announced, the tweeps sent each other so many heart emojis that they blocked their Slack channel. It shows how great this place is," writes on the network one of the employees Emily Fortner. And the teams do not seem determined to leave without a wave. Bloomberg thus reveals that a complaint accusing Twitter of not respecting the minimum notice period for these dismissals was filed on November 3 by lawyer Shannon Liss-Riordan. She told Bloomberg that she had done so the day before the announcement to be sure that the teams did not sign documents on Friday that could make them waive some of their rights.

"Keep a clear head, don't panic," wrote Rumman Chowdhury on Twitter, sharing a guide to legal advice from the Action dans la tech collective with his colleagues. Elon Musk is going to play a very tight game in the weeks and months to come. Certainly, pay cuts of this magnitude are a drastic way to make quick savings and set the stage for massive transformations to Twitter's features and business model. But such numerous dismissals, and so early, leave little time to transfer knowledge between the teams. Reorganizing the workforce will not be an easy task. Especially since even if Elon Musk is one of the most followed personalities on Twitter, he has never managed a social network, a field much more complex than it seems. The former CEO of the huge platform Reddit, Yishan Wong, joked about it last April: "Social networks are a headache. Elon Musk does not realize what he is getting into".

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