Twitter exodus begins after Musk’s ‘hardcore’ ultimatum


Image: — © AFP Jung Yeon-je

Employee departures mushroomed on Twitter on Thursday after an ultimatum from new owner Elon Musk, who demanded that staff choose between being “extremely tough” and working long, intense hours or losing their jobs.

“I may be #exceptional but dammit I’m just not #hardcore,” tweeted one former employee, Andrea Horst, whose LinkedIn profile still reads “Supply Chain & Capacity Management (Survivor) @Twitter”.

He added the hashtag “#lovewhereyouworked,” as did many other employees who announced his choice.

Musk, also the chief executive of Tesla and SpaceX, has come under fire for sweeping changes at the social media company, which he bought for $44 billion late last month.

He had already laid off half of the company’s 7,500 employees, scrapped a work-from-home policy and imposed long hours, all while his attempts to reform Twitter have met with chaos and delays.

Its failed attempts to re-verify users with a controversial subscription service have spawned a slew of fake accounts and hoaxes, and led major advertisers to back away from the platform.

Management of the troubled social network told employees Thursday that the offices were temporarily closed and inaccessible, even with a badge, according to Zoe Schiffer, a journalist for the tech industry newsletter Platformer.

“Moving forward, to build a head start on Twitter 2.0 and succeed in an increasingly competitive world, we will need to be extremely tough,” Musk wrote in the ultimatum, an internal memo sent Wednesday and seen by AFP.

“This will mean working many hours at high intensity. Only exceptional performance will constitute a passing grade,” she added.

Staff were asked to follow a link to affirm their commitment to “the new Twitter” by 5:00 pm New York time (22:00 GMT) on Thursday.

If they didn’t, they lost their jobs and received three months of severance pay, an unusual method even in the United States, where labor laws are less protective of employees than in many other developed countries.

Twitter did not respond to AFP’s requests for comment on the new measure.

“I have no words, I am just grateful to say that I was able to land my dream job and do more than I ever thought possible. It’s been a wild ride,” Deanna Hines-Glasgow, who was a senior manager of client accounts at Twitter, tweeted Thursday, according to her LinkedIn profile.

Esther Crawford, the platform’s director of product development and one of the few managers who hasn’t been fired, who hasn’t resigned, and who still publicly supports the new leader, tweeted: “To all the tweeters who decided to make today their last day: thank you for being amazing teammates through the ups and downs.

“I can’t wait to see what you do next.”


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