Among those who have been laid off are public policy staff and content moderators.
Numerous Twitter employees, including some involved in the company’s public policies and content moderation activities, were fired Friday as Elon Musk re-imagined the social network.
In heartfelt tweets, many using the hashtags #LoveWhereYouWork and #OneTeam, employees took to the social media platform to let others know that I love media had been let go. Many of those posts had previously worked in positions such as public policy, communications, engineering, marketing and human resources.
“All my thoughts, respect, energy and love for all tweeps around the world today,” Damien Viel, the company’s head of operations in France, wrote on Twitter. “We built the most incredible app in the world together. Let’s be proud of everything we’ve done and how we’ve done it.”
Many who have lost their jobs so far were denied access to company logins for online Twitter accounts on Thursday night without being previously informed that their contracts had been terminated, according to a former employee who spoke to POLITICO on condition of anonymity.
The announcements follow an internal email that made the rounds on Thursday informing the company’s tens of thousands of employees worldwide that they would be notified by email on November 4 whether or not they would remain with the company. According to Bloomberg, there was speculation that up to half of Twitter’s global workforce could lose their jobs.
In Dublin, Twitter’s European headquarters, Irish Times staff have described the situation as “bloodbath”, with layoffs being “random and arbitrary”. A now former Twitter executive based in the UK told POLITICO that people were sharing frenetic WhatsApp messages with colleagues in an effort to gather the latest information on who had been fired — and who was still working at the company.
“There’s a lot of dream-scrolling on Twitter to see what’s going on,” the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told POLITICO.
Joan Deitchman, senior engineer at Twitter’s machine learning, ethics, transparency and accountability team, wrote on the platform that the unit — whose job included researching how to improve transparency around automated algorithms — had been completely disbanded. That work is central to how regulators now view police social media, including how potentially hate-filled content is automatically promoted on these platforms.
“That’s all gone,” she said.
A Twitter spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
One Musk to rule them all
Disgruntled employees in the United States have filed a class-action lawsuit against Twitter, alleging they were not given adequate notice of the termination of their contract under US federal law. In Europe, strict labor laws in countries like Belgium could make it just as difficult — and costly — for Musk to jettison local workers.
“Getting rid of public order people when you claim to do “true free speech” is the [stupidest] always moving,” Audrey Herblin-Stoop, the former lead Twitter lobbyist in France, wrote on the platform.
The mass resignation represents the next stage in Musk’s takeover of the social network, which remains a mainstay in the way political leaders from US President Joe Biden to France’s Emmanuel Macron to Iran’s Ali Khamenei communicate with a global audience.
In the hours following Twitter’s acquisition in late October, Musk fired the company’s board of directors, including CEO Parag Argawal, as well as Vijaya Gadde, who headed the social media company’s legal, policy and trust teams.
In an effort to boost revenue on the social media network that is constantly struggling to turn a profit, Musk also wants to charge people $8 a month so that their accounts can be verified via the now-iconic ‘blue check’ logo. from the company. The mass layoffs announced Friday are also part of these efforts to make the company more profitable.
The world’s richest man has become a lightning rod for how to control online content after he posted falsehoods about the attack on the husband of US Speaker Nancy Pelosi in California, claiming the platform should be a global town hall where people to express their views freely, and advertisers promised that Twitter would not become a “free-for-anything hellscape.”
“He specifically told us he doesn’t want Twitter to become a hate booster,” said Yael Eisenstat, head of the Anti-Defamation League’s Center for Technology and Society, who joined other civil society organizations this week in a conversation with Musk. . . “We will continue to watch to make sure those actions actually happen.”