- Several employees recalled their time at the company and also worried about the future, as Elon Musk’s dreaded layoffs have affected half of the company’s 7,500 employees.
The widely expected and much-dreaded layoffs at Twitter began on Oct. 4, as its new boss, Elon Musk, let go about half of the company’s 7,500 employees. “The layoffs hit across many divisions,” The New York Times reported, including the engineering and machine learning units, the teams that manage content moderation, and the sales and advertising departments.”
A Twitter employee in Asia told Reuters that the company’s communications team in India has also been laid off. “Rarely have layoffs this deep been made by a single individual at a tech company,” The New York Times noted.
Several fired employees, including many Indians, vented on Twitter. Hashtag #LoveWhereYouWorked was trending, a past-tense play on one previously often used by Twitter employees. Several employees including Rumman Chowdhury, head of Machine Learning, Ethics, Transparency and Accountability (META) head tweeted: “What a bittersweet phrase — not because I’m gone, but because it’s gone.”
Chowdhury’s entire team was let go, according to a report in Gizmodo. “META was formed last year with the explicit task of auditing Twitter’s algorithms to investigate potential unintended harms and biases,” the design, technology, science and science fiction website noted. Chowdhury also posted a screenshot of apparently being locked out of her Twitter email account alongside a tweet reading, “Has it already started? Happy layoff eve!”
The Human Rights team was wiped out as well, former Human Rights Counsel Shannon Raj Singh revealed in a tweet. “That team played a crucial role in investigating Twitter related abuse around the world, particularly those affecting journalists, activists, and political dissidents,” Gizmodo said. “I am enormously proud of the work we did to implement the UN Guiding Principles on Business & Human Rights, to protect those at-risk in global conflicts & crises including Ethiopia,” Singh wrote.
Several employees recalled their time at the company and also worried about the future. Muhammad Abbas, who was let go, called Twitter his dream job. “It’s been difficult for my family and I, but we know better days are coming.”
“Leading Twitter’s Accessibility journey has been such a privilege and honor,” wrote a user named Gurupreet. “Before joining Twitter, a culture like this seemed like a dream, which came true.”
Debpriya Seal wrote: “And with a blink of an 6.5 years of run comes to end. I can honestly say I gave everything I could to this company.”
Moushmi, who spent six-and-a-half years at the company, wrote that “this timeline is hurting tonight with me.”
Radha Ahya called the company :a formative part of my career.”
Likhitha Patha, who said she’s making a comeback on the app “with Twitter Layoff edition,” noted that her two years at “the bird factory” have ended.
Ramya thanked “everyone who made it the joy that it was.”
Sonia Goyal also thanked “the amazing tweeps” for her “almost nine years” at the company.
But it was 25-year-old Yash Agarwal, who seemed have a positive outlook despite the sacking. Posting in a Twitter t-shirt and posing with pillows with the bird logo, he said it was “an absolute honor, the greatest privilege ever to be a part of this team, this culture.”
Some employees have already filed a lawsuit against Twitter. They claim that the claiming that the company “violated the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) and California’s WARN Act, which requires that companies give at least 60 days of notice before a mass firing,” as reported by The Verge. “The lawsuit also asked the San Francisco federal court to issue an order to restrict Twitter from soliciting employees being laid off to sign documents without informing them of the pendency of the case,” a Reuters report said. Some employees who aren’t part of the lawsuit told The Verge “they are consulting their lawyers about the discrepancy between Musk’s one-month of severance and what he agreed to pay before the merger.”
Musk had previously considered laying off as many as 75 percent of the company staff, “before ultimately scaling that down,” The Washington Post reported. He began the process by firing CEO Parag Agrawal, legal affairs and policy chief Vijaya Gadde, and CFO Ned Segal. He has dissolved Twitter’s former board of directors as well.