After Elon Musk’s ultimatum, Twitter employees start dating

Nov 18 (Reuters) – Hundreds of Twitter Inc employees are believed to have decided to quit the beleaguered social media company after a deadline on Thursday from new owner Elon Musk for employees to sign up for “long hours at high intensity” or leave.

The departures highlight the reluctance of some of Twitter’s roughly 3,000 employees to stay at a company where Musk previously laid off half of the workforce, including senior management, and is ruthlessly changing the culture to emphasize long hours and an intense rhythm.

Musk took to Twitter on Thursday night and said he wasn’t worried about the resignations because “the best people stay.”

The billionaire owner also added, “We just hit a new Twitter usage record…” without giving further details.

Musk met with some of the top employees on Thursday to try to convince them to stay, said a current employee and a recently deceased employee who is in contact with colleagues at Twitter.

The company also informed employees that it would close its offices and cut badge access until Monday, according to two sources. Security guards began kicking some employees out of an office Thursday night, a source said.

More than 110 Twitter employees on at least four continents had announced their decision to leave in public Twitter posts reviewed by Reuters, although each resignation could not be independently verified. Fifteen employees, many of them in advertising sales, have shown their intention to stay with the company.

In Twitter’s internal chat tool, more than 500 employees wrote farewell messages on Thursday, a source familiar with the notes said.

A survey of work app Blind, which verifies employees via their work email addresses and allows them to share information anonymously, had shown that 42% of 180 respondents opted to “Take the exit option , I’m free!”

A quarter said they chose to stay “reluctantly”, and only 7% of survey participants said they had “clicked yes to stay, I’m unconditional”.

The exact number of employees intending to leave the company could not immediately be established.

Twitter did not respond to a request for comment.


The departures include numerous engineers tasked with fixing bugs and preventing service outages, raising questions about the stability of the platform amid the loss of employees.

Elon Musk’s photo and Twitter logo are seen through a magnifying glass in this illustration taken November 4, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

Thursday evening, the version of the Twitter application used by employees began to slow down, according to a source familiar with the matter, who estimated that the public version of Twitter risked breaking overnight.

“If this breaks, there’s no one left to fix things in many areas,” said the person, who declined to be named for fear of reprisal.

Twitter outage reports rose sharply, from less than 50 to around 350 reports Thursday night, according to the Downdetector website, which tracks website and app outages.

In a private conversation on Signal with about 50 Twitter staffers, nearly 40 said they had decided to leave, according to the former employee.

And in a private Slack group for current and former Twitter employees, about 360 people have joined a new channel titled “voluntary termination,” a person with knowledge of the Slack group said.

A separate survey on Blind asked staff members to estimate the percentage of people who would quit Twitter based on their perception. More than half of respondents estimated that at least 50% of employees would leave.

Early Wednesday, Musk emailed Twitter employees, saying, “Going forward, to build a revolutionary Twitter 2.0 and succeed in an increasingly competitive world, we’ll have to be extremely hardcore.”

The email asked staff to click “yes” if they wanted to stay. Those who did not respond by 5 p.m. Eastern Time Thursday would be deemed to have resigned and receive severance pay, the email said.

As the deadline approached, employees raced to figure out what to do.

A Twitter team has decided to take the plunge together and leave the company, a departing employee told Reuters.

Blue hearts and greeting emojis flooded Twitter and its internal chat rooms on Thursday, the second time in two weeks as Twitter employees bid farewell.

Notable departures include Tess Rinearson, who was tasked with building a cryptocurrency team at Twitter. Rinearson tweeted the blue heart and salute emojis.

In an apparent jab at Musk’s call for employees to be “hardcore,” the Twitter profile biographies of several departing engineers on Thursday described themselves as “softcore engineers” or “hardcore ex-engineers.”

As the resignations rolled in, Musk made a joke on Twitter.

“How do you make a small fortune in social media? he tweeted. “Start big.”

Reporting by Sheila Dang in Dallas, Hyunjoo Jin in San Francisco and Paresh Dave in Oakland, Calif.; Additional reporting by Martin Coulter and Akanksha Khushi; Editing by Sam Holmes and Mark Potter

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Paresh Dave

Thomson Reuters

San Francisco Bay Area-based tech journalist covering Google and the rest of Alphabet Inc. Joined Reuters in 2017 after four years at the Los Angeles Times focusing on the local tech industry.

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