Elon Musk is now facing a new crisis at Twitter as a wave of employees seemed to reject his ultimatum of an “extremely hardcore” Twitter 2.0 or leave the company. Hours after a deadline for workers to check “yes” on a Google form accepting “long hours at high intensity," it seems a large number of employees have rejected Musk’s vision.
The departures come after Musk already cut 50 percent of Twitter’s jobs in mass layoffs. Exactly how many employees opted for severance over remaining at Twitter isn’t yet clear. The New York Times initially reported the number was in the “hundreds,” while other early reports suggested the number could be much higher. By Friday morning, the number of departures had risen to "at least 1,200," according to The New York Times.
On Twitter, dozens of Twitter employees who had survived the initial round of layoffs tweeted farewell messages. One employee tweeted a video of a group of workers inside Twitter’s office counting down to the 5pm ET deadline on Musk’s ultimatum. “We’re all about to get fired,” he said.
It’s been a ride pic.twitter.com/0VDf5hn2UA— Matt Miller (@brainiaq2000) November 17, 2022
Others tweeted messages alluding to Musk’s policies. In his Wednesday morning message, Musk had said that “only exceptional performance will constitute a passing grade.”
I may be #exceptional 💁🏼♀️, but gosh darn it, I’m just not #hardcore 🧟♀️#lovewhereyouworked pic.twitter.com/7kLjpmSSzF— Cheesehead in SF 🧀 (@andreachorst) November 17, 2022
That 5p release from the strict meritocracy #lovewhereyouworked pic.twitter.com/OEE8zNogI3— Joan De Jesús (@JoanSDeJesus) November 17, 2022
As the deadline approached, Musk reportedly grew concerned about how many remaining employees could leave the company. In a new memo, he appeared to walk back some of his earlier comments banning all remote work, though he still said he would fire managers if remote workers on their teams weren’t performing.
But it seems the concession wasn’t enough for many at Twitter. Platformer’s Zoe Schiffer reported Thursday that Musk and his lieutenants were struggling to figure out just how many employees had declined to check the “yes” box on his Google form, and that Twitter would be closing down access to its offices for a few days as an extra precaution.
The departures raise new questions about whether the remaining Twitter engineers will be able to reliably keep the service up and running. Current and former employees are already speculating that the latest exodus could further put Twitter’s ability to function at risk, especially with the start of the World Cup a few days away.
Twitter no longer has communications staff, but Musk tweeted Thursday night that "the best people are staying, so I'm not super worried."
Update 11/18 12:27PM PT: Updated with the latest estimates on the number of resignations, and to add a tweet from Musk addressing the departures.