Hundreds of Twitter employees are estimated to be leaving the beleaguered social media company following an ultimatum from new owner Elon Musk that staffers sign up for "long hours at high intensity," or quit.
Employee departures have been multiplying at Twitter after an ultimatum from new owner Elon Musk, who demanded staff choose between being "extremely hardcore" and working intense, long hours, or losing their jobs.
"I may be #exceptional, but gosh darn it, I'm just not #hardcore," tweeted one former employee, Andrea Horst, whose LinkedIn profile still reads "Supply Chain & Capacity Management (Survivor) @Twitter."
She added the hashtag "#lovewhereyouworked," as did many other employees announcing their choice.
Musk, also the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, has come under fire for radical changes at the social media company, which he bought for $44 billion late last month.
He had already fired half of the company's 7,500 staff, scrapped a work-from-home policy and imposed long hours, all while his attempts to overhaul Twitter have faced chaos and delays.
His stumbling attempts to revamp user verification with a controversial subscription service have led to a slew of fake accounts and pranks and prompted major advertisers to step away from the platform.
"Going forward, to build a breakthrough Twitter 2.0 and succeed in an increasingly competitive world, we will need to be extremely hardcore," Musk wrote in the ultimatum, an internal memo sent on Wednesday and seen by the AFP news agency.
"This will mean working long hours at high intensity. Only exceptional performance will constitute a passing grade," he added.
In a poll on the workplace app Blind, which verifies employees through their work email addresses and allows them to share information anonymously, 42% of 180 people chose the answer for "Taking exit option, I'm free!"
A quarter said they had chosen to stay "reluctantly," and only 7% of the poll participants said they "clicked yes to stay, I'm hardcore."
Employees being kicked out?
The troubled social media network's management told employees on Thursday that offices were temporarily closed and inaccessible, even with a badge, according to Zoe Schiffer, a journalist for the tech industry newsletter Platformer.
The company notified employees that it will close its offices and cut badge access until Monday, according to two sources cited by the Reuters news agency. Security officers have begun kicking employees out of the office on Thursday evening, one source said.
On Thursday evening, the version of the Twitter app used by employees began slowing down, according to one source familiar with the matter, who estimated that the public version of Twitter was at risk of breaking during the night.
"If it does break, there is no one left to fix things in many areas," the person said, who declined to be named for fear of retribution.
'A wild ride'
Staff had been asked to follow a link to affirm their commitment to "the new Twitter" by 5:00 pm New York time (2200 GMT) on Thursday.
If they did not do so, they lost their jobs, receiving three months of severance pay -- an unusual method even in the United States, where labour laws are less protective for employees than in many other developed countries.
Twitter did not respond to AFP requests for comment on the new measure.
"No words just grateful to say I was able to get my dream job and do more than I ever thought possible. It's been a wild ride," Deanna Hines-Glasgow, who was a senior client account manager 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 have not been fired, who have not resigned and who still publicly support the new leader, tweeted: "To all the Tweeps who decided to make today your last day: thanks for being incredible teammates through the ups and downs.
"I can't wait to see what you do next."