Hundreds of Twitter employees apparently quit Thursday after new CEO Elon Musk gave workers an ultimatum: commit to a “hardcore” work environment, or be fired.
The reported exodus threw Twitter into more turmoil and came as staffers at the social media giant were given a 5 p.m. Thursday deadline to sign onto Musk’s workplace pledge.
The resignations were gleaned from internal Twitter communications, including a poll where 42% of 180 workers surveyed Thursday said they were “Taking the exit option, I’m free,” Reuters reported.
Another quarter of employees said that they “reluctantly” chose to stay and only 7% said they “clicked yes to stay, I’m hardcore,” according to the poll that appeared on the workplace app Blind – which allows verified employees to share information anonymously.
Nearly 40 Twitters workers communicating in a private Signal chat also said they were hitting the exits.
And in a private Slack group for Twitter’s current and former employees, about 360 people joined a new channel titled “voluntary-layoff,” a source told Reuters.
Following the mass exodus, Twitter alerted workers that its offices would be closed until Monday and their badge access would be cut until then, sources told Reuters.
Security officers also began kicking employees out of the office on Thursday evening, the sources said.
It’s unclear exactly how many workers quit Thursday or have decided to stick it out with the company, opting to work “long hours at high intensity,” as Musk demanded.
Amid the disarray, employees said Musk has reached out to current and former workers to convince them to stay on board.
Among those fired was 80 percent of its engineering staff. With more engineers now reportedly leaving, questions remain as to who will be left to fix bugs and prevent service outages.
On Thursday evening, the version of the Twitter app used by employees began slowing down, according to a source familiar with the matter, who said that the public version of Twitter could shut also down Thursday night.
“If it does break, there is no one left to fix things in many areas,” the source, who declined to be named for fear of retribution, told Reuters.
Reports of Twitter outages rose sharply from less than 50 to nearly 2,000 reports on Thursday evening, according to the website Downdetector, which tracks website and app outages.
Musk had emailed employees on Wednesday saying “Going forward, to build a breakthrough Twitter 2.0 and succeed in an increasingly competitive world, we will need to be extremely hardcore.”
Staff was asked to click “yes” if they wished to remain or pack up their things and quit with three months’ severance pay. All were expected to respond by 5 p.m. Thursday.
The email was reportedly sent out of Musk’s fear that disloyal employees will sabotage the platform, according to Insider.
As the resignations rolled in, Musk quipped in a tweet: “How do you make a small fortune in social media? Start out with a large one.”
Outside of Twitter headquarters in San Francisco, activists projected a ticker of insults aimed at Musk on the outside of the building as pedestrians stopped to take photos.
Musk’s takeover of the company has been marred with chaos as he tries to generate revenue at the financially struggling company. One folly was the rollout — and subsequent revocation — of the Blue Verified program in which Twitter users were invited to pay $7.99 per month for a blue check icon next to their handles. The feature was shelved after Twitter users impersonated celebrities, brands and other high-profile figures.
Musk said on Wednesday that he plans to spend less time with the social media platform and intends to find a new leader to run the company as it undergoes a complete organizational overhaul.
As #RIPTwiter and #GoodbyeTwitter trended on the site, the richest man in the world seemed unbothered.
“And … we just hit another all-time high in Twitter usage lol,” Musk tweeted shortly after 11 p.m.