Nov 17 (Reuters) – Hundreds of Twitter workers are believed to be leaving the beleaguered social media company following an ultimatum from new owner Elon Musk that employees sign up for “long, high-intensity hours ” or leave.
In a survey of the work app Blind, which verifies employees through their work email addresses and allows them to share information anonymously, 42% of 180 people chose the answer “Take the exit option, I’m free !”
A quarter said they chose to stay “reluctantly”, and only 7% of survey participants said they had “clicked yes to stay, I’m unconditional”.
Musk was meeting with some of the top employees to try to convince them to stay, said a current employee and a recently deceased employee who is in contact with colleagues at Twitter.
While it’s unclear how many employees have opted to stay, the numbers highlight the reluctance of some staff to stay at a company where Musk has been quick to lay off half of his employees, including senior management, and ruthlessly shifts the culture to emphasize long hours and intense pace.
The company has informed employees that it will close its offices and cut off access to badges until Monday, according to two sources. Security guards began evicting employees from the office on Thursday evening, a source said.
Musk took to Twitter on Thursday night and said he wasn’t worried about the resignations because “the best people stay.”
The billionaire owner amid the flood of resignations also added that Twitter had hit an all-time high in usage.
“And we just hit a new record for Twitter usage…” he said in a tweet, without giving further details.
Twitter, which has lost many members of its communications team, did not respond to a request for comment.
The departures include numerous engineers tasked with fixing bugs and preventing service outages, raising questions about the stability of the platform amid the loss of employees.
Thursday evening, the version of the Twitter application used by employees began to slow down, according to a source familiar with the matter, who estimated that the public version of Twitter risked breaking overnight.
“If this breaks, there’s no one left to fix things in many areas,” said the person, who declined to be named for fear of reprisal.
Twitter outage reports rose sharply from less than 50 to around 350 reports late Thursday, according to the Downdetector website, which tracks website and app outages.
In a private conversation on Signal with about 50 Twitter staffers, nearly 40 said they had decided to leave, according to the former employee.
And in a private Slack group for current and former Twitter employees, about 360 people have joined a new channel titled “voluntary termination,” a person with knowledge of the Slack group said.
A separate survey on Blind asked staff members to estimate the percentage of people who would quit Twitter based on their perception. More than half of respondents estimated that at least 50% of employees would leave.
Blue hearts and greeting emojis flooded Twitter and its internal chat rooms on Thursday, the second time in two weeks as Twitter employees bid farewell.
As of 6 p.m. EST, more than two dozen Twitter employees in the United States and Europe had announced their departures in public Twitter posts reviewed by Reuters, though not every resignation could be confirmed. independently verified.
Early Wednesday, Musk emailed Twitter employees, saying, “Going forward, to build a revolutionary Twitter 2.0 and succeed in an increasingly competitive world, we’ll have to be extremely hardcore.”
The email asked staff to click “yes” if they wanted to stay. Those who did not respond by 5 p.m. Eastern Time Thursday would be deemed to have resigned and receive severance pay, the email said.
As the deadline approached, employees raced to figure out what to do.
A Twitter team has decided to take the plunge together and leave the company, a departing employee told Reuters.
Notable departures include Tess Rinearson, who was tasked with building a cryptocurrency team at Twitter. Rinearson tweeted the blue heart and salute emojis.
In an apparent jab at Musk’s call for employees to be “hardcore,” the Twitter profile biographies of several departing engineers on Thursday described themselves as “softcore engineers” or “hardcore ex-engineers.”
As the resignations rolled in, Musk made a joke on Twitter.
“How do you make a small fortune in social media? he tweeted. “Start big.”
Reporting by Sheila Dang in Dallas, Hyunjoo Jin in San Francisco and Paresh Dave in Oakland, Calif.; Additional reporting by Martin Coulter and Akanksha Khushi; Editing by Sam Holmes
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