Twitter's new owner Elon Musk has said that he is "not super worried" over the future of the social media giant as "the best people are staying", after hundreds of employees appeared to have left the company following a deadline by him that they commit to what he has dubbed a "hardcore Twitter 2.0" or quit.
Twitter fell into a pitless chaos after several employees appeared to have departed the company, which sent messages that it was closing its "office buildings" for the next few days.
"The best people are staying, so I'm not super worried," Elon Musk tweeted in a response to a tweet by a user who said "What do people mean when they say Twitter is gonna shut down? Doesn't it kinda run itself? I feel like engineers are for changes not to just keep it running? I also don't know anything. Hey @elonmusk wanna do a Twitter space with me? Im confused." In another tweet, Musk, the world's richest person, said "And ... we just hit another all-time high in Twitter usage lol. Let that sink in ...".
The best people are staying, so I'm not super worried— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 18, 2022
The New York Times said in a report that after a 5 pm Thursday deadline was given by Elon Musk to employees to choose whether to quit or stay on at Twitter, "hundreds of Twitter employees appeared to have decided to depart with three months of severance pay." Twitter also announced through email that it would close "our office buildings" and disable employee badge access until Monday.
During all this, Elon Musk and his advisers also held meetings with some Twitter workers deemed "critical" and to stop them from leaving the company. The chaos also included confusing messages from Elon Musk about the company's remote work policy.
Elon Musk's team also held meetings with "undecided employees" who are considered key to Twitter's operations in a bid to try to persuade them to stay.
"In his pitch, Mr Musk said that he knew how to win and that those who wanted to win should join him," the NYT report said.
"In one of those meetings, some employees were summoned to a conference room in the San Francisco office while others called in via videoconference. As the 5 pm deadline passed, some who had called in began hanging up, seemingly having decided to leave, even as Mr Musk continued speaking," it added.
Over the past few weeks, Elon Musk has been firing those who oppose or disagree with him, often through public tweets. He has told employees that they need to be "extremely hard core" to make the company a success and gave Twitter's remaining employees just about 36 hours to leave or commit to building "a breakthrough Twitter 2.0." The unraveling at Twitter came within weeks of Elon Musk acquiring the social media company for $44 billion last month and laying off half of Twitter's 7,500 full-time workers.
The NYT report added that the "shedding of so many employees in such a compressed period has raised questions about how Twitter will keep operating effectively." The report said after Elon Musk asked workers to decide whether to stay with the company or depart, employees were provided with an FAQ (frequently asked questions) document about exit packages on Wednesday.
The FAQ opened by saying that Elon Musk's ultimatum was an "official company communication" and "not a phishing attempt." "As you have seen, Twitter is at the beginning of an exciting journey," the document said.
The FAQ said employees would have to "maximise working from an office" and "work the hours necessary to do your job at the highest level," including early mornings, late nights and weekends, the NYT report said.
Elon Musk also sent out confusing and differing messages about Twitter's remote work policy, first saying that all Twitter employees must come into the office to work at least 40 hours a week and then announcing that "Regarding remote work, all that is required for approval is that your manager takes responsibility for ensuring that you are making an excellent contribution." The NYT report said minutes later, Elon Musk "sent another email to staff saying managers were on the hook not to lie about strong work as a cover for employees to work from home." "Any manager who falsely claims that someone reporting to them is doing excellent work or that a given role is essential, whether remote or not, will be exited from the company," Elon Musk said.