People are singing their last birdsongs on Twitter, as some brace for what they fear will be a final farewell to the platform whose workforce has shrunk dramatically in the few weeks it’s been owned by billionaire Elon Musk.
While it’s unlikely that Twitter will shut down entirely, departing employees are warning of service outages, glitches and safety risks.
On Thursday, more employees quit after Musk gave them an ultimatum: Either they sign on to a new “hardcore” era or leave with three months severance. The fresh departures came just two weeks after Musk laid off half of the company. He’s also eliminated thousands of contractor jobs and fired some employees who criticized him publicly. Without cost cuts and increased revenue, he says, bankruptcy is possible. Some former employees who chose not to sign onto Musk’s new vision took to Twitter to explain their decisions.
Clowes noted any employee who chose to remain would have had to sign away their option to take severance before seeing their offer, and without a clear picture of the future Musk has planned. He said of his team of 75 engineers, only three chose to stay. Employees who were laid off in early November still have not received any communication from Twitter, aside from one note to their personal email addresses saying severance packages were going to take longer to arrive, according to a former employee who, like others, spoke to NPR on the condition of anonymity because they feared the loss of promised severance and retaliation from the company.
With security, engineering and content moderation teams gutted, the platform is also more vulnerable to hacks and abuse.
Twitter is a platform that is “so complicated that truly nobody understands how it all works,” another former employee said. “The loss of the security organization is bad, the loss of all that institutional knowledge is worse.”