Twitter employees believe that all staff based in the UK are set to be put on gardening leave in Elon Musk’s mass redundancies today, NationalWorld can reveal. The social media website has begun cutting jobs around the world in the wake of Musk’s takeover and his major shake-up of the platform. There have been suggestions that as many as half of the tech giant’s global workforce could be cut as part of cost-saving measures.
NationalWorld understands that all UK employees are being put on gardening leave, which means they will still be employed and paid until the end of their notice period, however will no longer be able to work or access company emails. At the time of writing, Twitter had not responded to NationalWorld’s requests for comment. The website employs 7,500 people worldwide, and has two British offices in London and Manchester.
Staff have been told that everyone will receive an email this afternoon, confirming their employment status. However, employees based in the UK and abroad have already taken to social media, saying they’ve been blocked from their company accounts and had their email addresses wiped. The news and trending sections on the ‘explore’ section of the Twitter website have not been updated since yesterday.
NationalWorld understands some employees - who have been placed on gardening leave - are concerned about misinformation spreading during the US Midterm elections and the World Cup in Qatar. Twitter staff are thought to be concerned that the health of the platform will be impacted by the redundancies.
Chris Younie, who works in entertainment partnerships, tweeted: “Well this isn’t looking promising. Can’t log into emails. Mac won't turn on. But so grateful this is happening at 3am. Really appreciate the thoughtfulness on the timing front guys…”
While Simon Balmain, a senior community manager in the UK, said he believed he had been laid off after being logged out of his laptop. He told the BBC: “Everyone got an email saying that there was going to be a large reduction in headcount, and then around an hour later, folks started getting their laptops remotely wiped and access to Slack and Gmail revoked.”
Musk is thought to want to drastically reduce costs at the company after completing his £39 billion takeover of the platform last week and has since tweeted “we need to pay the bills somehow” in relation to further plans to begin charging a monthly subscription for users to keep their verified blue tick badge. According to an internal email reportedly sent to staff, the job cuts are “an effort to place Twitter on a healthy path” and action is “unfortunately necessary to ensure the company’s success moving forward”.
Staff have been told that everyone will receive an email by 9am PST (4pm GMT) on Friday, with those who are affected by the cuts set to receive the message on their personal email address rather than the one associated with their work. “Given the nature of our distributed workforce and our desire to inform impacted individuals as quickly as possible, communications for this process will take place via email,” the internal email said.
The message said Twitter’s offices around the world would be “temporarily closed” and that staff badge access “will be suspended”. “If you are in an office or on your way to an office, please return home,” the email said.
Musk has promised to make sweeping changes at the company and has already removed the entire board, leaving himself as the sole executive, and pledged to change how the site handles content moderation. He has also suggested allowing banned accounts, including that of former US president Donald Trump, back on to the site.
However, this has raised concerns among many users and advertisers, with reports suggesting that some businesses will suspend advertising with Twitter if accounts such as Trump’s are allowed to return. Advertising revenue makes up the vast majority of Twitter’s earnings, which is why some analysts believe Musk is looking to introduce more subscription offerings as a way of generating new income.
Before completing his takeover, the billionaire said in a message to advertisers that he would not allow the platform to become a “free-for-all hellscape” despite previously describing himself as a “free speech absolutist”.
His plans to overhaul the Twitter Blue subscription service so that it gives users the blue tick verification badge in exchange for a monthly fee is also reportedly set to be introduced later this month.
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