Twitter locks staff out of offices until next week

Twitter has told employees that the company’s office buildings will be temporar­ily closed, with immediate effect.

In a message seen by the BBC, workers were told that the offices would reopen on Monday, No­vember 21.

It did not give a reason for the move.

The announcement comes amid reports that large numbers of staff were quitting after new owner Elon Musk called on them to sign up for “long hours at high intensity” or leave.

The message went on to say: “Please continue to comply with company policy by refraining from discussing confidential com­pany information on social media, with the press or elsewhere.”

There are signs that large num­bers of workers have resigned because they have not accepted Mr Musk’s new terms.

One former Twitter employee, who wished to remain anony­mous, told the BBC: “I think when the dust clears today, there’s probably going to be less than 2,000 people left.”

They claimed everyone in their team had been sacked.

“The manager of that team, his manager was terminated. And then that manager’s manag­er was terminated. The person above that was one of the execs terminated on the first day. So there’s nobody left in that chain of command.”

Another person said they had resigned even though they had been prepared to work long hours.

“I didn’t want to work for someone who threatened us over email multiple times about only ‘exceptional tweeps should work here’ when I was already working 60-70 hours weekly,” they said.

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the BBC.

In response to staff leaving, former Twitter vice-president Bruce Daisley told the BBC there were former Twitter engineers claiming the social media platform could “fail as soon as Monday”.

“There’s a large number of features that really seem to be predicated on having engineers on site,” he said.

“If those engineers have gone, then it does threaten the sustain­ability of the product.

“So, there’s a lot of people posting where else you can find them online.”

This week, Mr Musk told Twit­ter staff that they had to commit to working long hours and would “need to be extremely hardcore” or leave the company.

In an email to staff, the firm’s new owner said workers should agree to the pledge if they wanted to stay, the Washington Post reported.

Those who did not sign up by Thursday, November 17 would be given three months’ severance pay, Mr Musk said.

Earlier this month the company said that it was cutting about 50 per cent of its workforce.

Employees have been tweet­ing using the hashtag #Love­WhereYouWorked and a saluting emoji to show they were leaving the firm.

Despite the turmoil at the com­pany, Mr Musk tweeted on Friday: “And… we just hit another all-time high in Twitter usage lol.”

Satirist Frank Lesser replied: “‘Rome has never been this brightly lit at night!’ – Nero” – a reference to the Roman emperor who is reputed to have fiddled while Rome burned.

Before Mr Musk took control of Twitter the company had about 7,500 staff. The firm was also reported to have employed thou­sands of contract workers, the majority of whom are understood to have been laid off. -BBC

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