Death is in the air on Twitter.
On Thursday night’s platform, where #RIPTwitter was trending globally, users wrote their dreaded final posts, saying a worried goodbye and listing the other (more stable) social media platforms they can still be found on.
They reacted to the terrible news from Twitter. Numerous remaining employees at the social media company on Thursday appeared to reject owner Elon Musk’s ultimatum to work “extremely hardcore,” throwing the communications platform into complete disarray and raising serious questions about how much longer it will survive.
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The death of Twitter would have serious consequences considering how important the platform is for global communication. The platform has often been compared to a digital marketplace. Heads of state use Twitter to communicate, journalists use Twitter to gather news, dissidents in repressive countries use Twitter to organize, celebrities and big brands use Twitter to make important announcements, and the public often uses Twitter to communicate to monitor all this in real time.
If the platform were to die or become unusable due to instability issues, no single area would immediately replace it, and communications could be disrupted across multiple social media sites, causing seismic disruption and slowing down of information flow.
There was effectively a mass termination within the company’s Slack after Musk’s 5 p.m. deadline for employees to make a decision. Hundreds of employees appear to have resigned, accepting Musk’s offer to drop out in exchange for three months’ severance pay.
Employees flooded the “#social-watercooler” channel with the greeting emoji, indicating their decision not to sign Musk’s pledge. A similar series of events occurred on the Slack channel earlier this month, when Musk laid off about 50% of the company’s then-7,500 employees.
A former Twitter executive who recently left the company described the situation as a “mass exodus”. When asked about the situation, the former manager said: “Elon finds out he can’t bully high-level talent. You have many opportunities and will not put up with his antics.”
“You’re going to have trouble just leaving the lights on,” added the former manager.
That sentiment was shared broadly by the other half-dozen current and former employees on Thursday. It was bad enough after Musk launched mass layoffs at the company earlier this month. So bad that Twitter asked some of the people it fired to come back just days later. The situation has only gotten worse since then.
Indeed, hours before the deadline, Twitter management was in a panic, people familiar with the matter said, explaining that senior executives were “creeping around” trying to convince talent to stay with the company.
Musk himself finally seemed to realize the dire state of affairs, and sent an email to all employees relaxing his previously uncompromising anti-remote work stance. “In terms of remote work, all that is required for approval is for your manager to take accountability for making you an excellent contributor,” Musk said in the email.
It didn’t seem to do much good.
Two employees who decided Thursday to reject Musk’s ultimatum made it clear why they did so. “I don’t want to stay here to build a product that’s poisoned inside and out,” one said, later adding that he felt good to have made a decision “in line with what I stand for.” “.
A recently fired employee who keeps in touch with former colleagues said, “People don’t want to sacrifice their mental health and family life to make the richest man in the world richer.”
And Twitter seemed to grasp the mess Thursday night, sending an email to employees telling them it had once again closed all of its offices and suspended access to employee badges, presumably to protect its systems and data.
Twitter’s already depleted communications department did not respond to requests for comment. But Musk nodded to the situation in a tweet.
“How do you make a small fortune on social media?” Musk asked. “Start with a big one.”