Nov 18 (Reuters) – Hundreds of Twitter Inc workers are estimated to have decided to leave the social media company after new owner Elon Musk’s deadline on Thursday for workers to sign up for “high-intensity long hours” or leave.
The layoffs underscore the reluctance of some of Twitter’s roughly 3,000 employees to stay at the company, where Musk previously laid off half the workforce, including top management, and brutally changed the culture to emphasize long hours and an intense pace.
Musk took to Twitter late Thursday to say he wasn’t worried about the resignations because “the best people stay.”
The billionaire owner also added, “We just hit an all-time high in Twitter usage…” without elaborating.
On Thursday, Musk met with some senior employees and tried to convince them to stay, said a current employee and a recently departed employee who contacted colleagues on Twitter.
The company also told employees it would close its offices and cut off access to the badge until Monday, according to two sources. Security officers began evicting some workers from an office on Thursday evening, a source said.
More than 110 Twitter employees on at least four continents announced their decision to leave in public Twitter posts reviewed by Reuters, although each resignation could not be independently confirmed. About 15 employees, many of whom worked in advertising sales, have written their intention to stay with the company.
More than 500 employees posted goodbye messages on Twitter’s internal chat tool on Thursday, a source familiar with the records said.
A survey by Blind, a workplace app that verifies employees through their work email addresses and allows them to share information anonymously, found that 42% of 180 respondents said, “I opt out, I’m free!” indicated that he had chosen his choice.
A quarter said they chose to stay “reluctantly” and only 7% of respondents said “click yes to stay, I’m tough”.
It was not immediately possible to determine the exact number of employees who intend to leave the company.
Twitter did not respond to a request for comment.
The departures include many engineers to fix bugs and avoid service outages, raising questions about the stability of the platform amid the loss of employees.
The version of the Twitter app used by employees began to slow down Thursday evening, according to a source familiar with the matter who estimated that the public version of Twitter was at risk of being disrupted during the night.
“If it breaks, there will be no one left to fix things in many areas,” said the person, who asked not to be named for fear of retribution.
Reports of outages on Twitter jumped from less than 50 to nearly 350 as of Thursday evening, according to Downdetector, a website that tracks website and app outages.
In a private conversation at Signal with about 50 Twitter employees, about 40 said they had decided to leave, according to a former employee.
In a private Slack group for current and former Twitter employees, about 360 people have joined a new channel called “voluntary layoffs,” a person with knowledge of the Slack group said.
A separate survey conducted by Blind asked employees to estimate what percentage of people would leave Twitter based on their perceptions. More than half of the respondents estimated that at least 50% of employees would quit.
“Going forward, we need to be extremely tough to build Twitter 2.0 and succeed in an increasingly competitive world,” Musk said in an email to Twitter employees early Wednesday morning.
The email asked staff to click “yes” if they wanted to stay. Those who do not respond by 5 p.m. ET on Thursday will be considered terminated and given a severance package, the email said.
As the deadline loomed, workers scrambled to figure out what to do.
A team within Twitter has decided to take the plunge and leave the company together, a departing employee told Reuters.
Blue hearts and hello emojis flooded Twitter and its internal chat rooms on Thursday as Twitter employees bid farewell, for the second time in two weeks.
Notable departures include Tess Rinearson, who was tasked with building the cryptocurrency team at Twitter. Rinearson tweeted blue heart and hello emojis.
In an apparent blow to Musk’s call for employees to be “hardcore,” several departing engineers on Thursday described themselves as “soft engineers” or “former hard engineers” in their Twitter profile bios.
As the resignations go, Musk joked on Twitter.
“How do you make a small fortune on social media?” tweeted. “Start with a big one.”
Reporting by Sheila Dang in Dallas, Hyunjoo Jin in San Francisco and Paresh Dave in Oakland, California; Additional reporting by Martin Coulter and Akanksha Khushi; Edited by Sam Holmes and Mark Potter
Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.