On Wednesday Elon Musk reportedly: Agree to work long “hardcore” hours or leave the company. Employees were made to reply “yes” to the option to stay by 5 p.m. ET on Thursday or be let go with 3 months of severance pay. Many, it appears, chose to leave.
Hundreds of Twitter employees resigned, according to according to the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and others, citing messages staff sent to one another on Slack. The exodus has left critical systems down to skeleton crews of one or two engineers, a former employee told the Washington Post.
Around the same time, the company’s remaining employees were reportedly locked out of its headquarters, with Platformer’s Zoe Schiffer reporting Twitter’s buildings are closed and badge access suspended until Nov. 21. Twitter, which no longer appears to have a PR team, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
The news is the latest twist in the long saga of Twitter under Musk’s control. Since taking the reigns as CEO on Oct. 27, Musk has laid off about half the 7,500 person staff while demanding remaining ones work long hours. He’s overseen the quick development of new features, like an update to the Twitter Blue subscription that included account verification, which led to a, including of Musk himself.
Thursday’s news spawned fresh concern among Twitter users that the platform is in the final stages of a death spiral that began when Musk bought the company for $44 billion. #RIPTwitter, “Damn Twitter” and “Twitter HQ” became the platform’s trending phrases following reports of the exodus.
Among those responding to the turmoil is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democratic congresswoman from New York who recently criticized Musk’s handling of Twitter. “Shoutout to all the workers at Twitter,” she wrote to her 13 million followers. “You all built a vital place for connection and deserved so much better.”
Musk even seemed to acknowledge the drama, posting a tweet that appeared to poke fun at his earlier warning the company may soon go bankrupt. “How do you make a small fortune in social media?” Musk tweeted on Thursday night, three hours after his deadline to staff. “Start out with a large one.”
The polarizing businessman’s tenure as Twitter leader may end up being temporary. During testimony Wednesday over a Tesla shareholder case alleging that his salary as CEO is excessive, Musk also reportedly told the court, “I expect to reduce my time at Twitter and find somebody else to run Twitter over time,” according to CNBC.