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As Mass Twitter Layoffs Begin, Employees Sue and Advertisers Pause

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Friday morning was devastating for thousands of Twitter employees who woke up to an email with the subject line “Your Role at Twitter,” followed by the message that their jobs with the troubled company are no longer extant. It seems that new Twitter baron and celestial traveler Elon Musk is making good on his Thanos-like threat to simply eliminate half of all workers with a snap of his frantic fingers.

In Musk’s defense, he’d been saying that a firing frenzy was inevitable long before he ever completed his will-he-won’t-he $44 billion purchase of the social media platform.

“Today is your last working day at the company,” the gut-freezing email stated, according to ABC7. Laid-off employees were immediately locked out of their company email and Slack apps, and then notified of their termination through personal email.

Those being canned will stay employed by Twitter and receive pay and benefits through the first week of January 2023, the station reports.

The company had about 7,500 employees until Friday. It remains unclear exactly how many remain.

Musk announced the layoffs in his first ever all-company email on Thursday:

“Team, In an effort to place Twitter on a healthy path, we will go through the difficult process of reducing our global workforce on Friday. We recognize that this will impact a number of individuals who have made valuable contributions to Twitter but this action is unfortunately necessary to ensure the company’s success moving forward.”

Workers were told they would learn their fate by 9 a.m. the following day.

After Thursday’s announcement, however, many workers discovered that they had lost access to their Twitter accounts, leading them to believe they had been fired even before the old fashioned nicety of an official notice. So they took to online, Slacking and tweeting support to one other under the hashtag #OneTeam, and sending out blue hearts.

“Tweeps are just hanging out in Slack saying nice things things to each other until their access is cut off,” Casey Newton wrote on Twitter. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Tweeps are just hanging out in Slack saying nice things to each other until their access is cut off. I’ve never seen anything like it.

Some really incredible people leaving Twitter tonight. We are all worse off without them there

— Casey Newton (@CaseyNewton) November 4, 2022

And, of course, when some people did get cut off, they got cut off at the worst of times.

Last Thursday in the SF office, really the last day Twitter was Twitter. 8 months pregnant and have a 9 month old.

Just got cut off from laptop access #LoveWhereYouWorked 💙

— rachel bonn (@RachBonn) November 4, 2022

Meanwhile, on Thursday, several employees filed a class action suit in federal court in San Francisco, where Twitter is based (for now). Filed by one employee who was laid off and three others who were locked out of their work accounts, the lawsuit contents that Twitter plans to lay off even more employees and has broken federal and state laws by not providing 60 days in advance for mass layoffs, NBC News reports.

“Twitter is now engaged in conducting mass layoffs without providing the required notice under the federal WARN Act,” the lawsuit reads.

Musk made big moves in his first week, firing top executives, including CEO Parag Agrawal. He also did away with the company’s board of directors and made himself the sole board member.

Many major companies have put a halt on advertising on Twitter, choosing to wait and see what Musk will do next. General Motors was the first to pause, followed by Pfizer, Audi, and General Mills.

Inside a much-smaller Twitter, there doesn’t seem to be rejoicing among those who have been allowed to stay. One Twitter employee put it the best: “I didn’t get laid off. Feel like vomiting though.”

I got the email… I still have a job

but I stayed up last night watching hard-working, talented, caring people get logged out one by one and I don’t know what to say.

Tweeps, you are remarkable. #OneTeam #TwitterLayoffs

(My colleague captured it perfectly)

— eli schutze🫡 (@elibelly) November 4, 2022

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