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Elon Musk reportedly outlines horrible Twitter layoff process

Email to your personal account is bad news, email to your work account means you still work at Twitter

Twitter owner, sole director and – according to his Twitter profile, now also "Twitter Complaint Hotline Operator" – has reportedly informed company staff that layoffs begin tomorrow.

Accounts of an internal email detailing the layoffs have reached The New York Times and The Washington Post, both of which report that as of Thursday night US time Twitter has closed its offices and made it impossible for staff to access them with key cards.

The internal email reportedly advises staff that by 9AM Pacific Time on Friday all staff will receive a message with the subject line "Your Role at Twitter."

Those who still have a role will get that email to their Twitter email account, and presumably be allowed back into their office at some point.

Those who are being let go will get it at their personal account. The personal touch.

Musk wrote the layoffs are necessary "in an effort to place Twitter on a healthy path" and that the company's global workforce will be impacted.

"We recognize that this will impact a number of individuals who have made valuable contributions to Twitter, but this action is unfortunately necessary to ensure the company's success moving forward," the email states.

The mail from Musk also includes the following text:

We acknowledge this is an incredibly challenging experience to go through, whether or not you are impacted. Thank you for continuing to adhere to Twitter policies that prohibit you from discussing confidential company information on social media, with the press or elsewhere.

Yeah, sorry, Elon: looks like not everyone is observing those policies right now.

Reports viewed by The Register offer little insight into the magnitude of the layoffs. The Twitter page on sacking-tracking site The Layoff includes posts claiming 800 staff will be let go in a first round, with another 500 to follow. The Washington Post suggests that as much as 50 percent of Twitter's 7500-strong global workforce might be shown the door.

The terms on which Musk acquired Twitter mean it carries around $13 billion of debt, so has enormous interest bills to pay – bills that are likely to increase over the next few months as central banks use interest rate hikes to (hopefully) curb inflation.

Twitter was largely unprofitable during its nine years as a public company and in its most recently reported quarter revealed a net loss of $270 million on revenue of $1.18 billion.

Revenue is unlikely to increase in the short term, as some advertisers put their wallets away during tough economic times and others stop spending with Twitter for fear of Musk making changes that could lead to a negative association for their brands.

Musk has floated the idea of making Twitter's ~400,000 verified account holders pay $8/month to retain that status as a revenue-raising measure to supplement advertising revenue.

The idea has also earned criticism as a misunderstanding of why verified accounts matter – as tokens of trustworthiness, not status – with the thread below from actor Rob Kazinsky one example of such thinking.

If Musk does charge for verified accounts, the move would raise perhaps $40 million a year – even if all current verified Twitter users decide to pay. It's far from certain that all will do so.

That leaves cutting costs as a seeming inevitability. And at 9AM Pacific time on November 4, we'll have a better idea of the extent to which Twitter staff will contribute to that effort. ®

Updated at 04:30 UTC to add

Twitter staff appear to have deduced they've been let go after trying to log on to corporate applications ... and not being able to do so.

The hashtag #OneTeam - internal Twitter-speak denoting the company's workplace culture - is also beginning to trend at the time of writing as staff show solidarity for discarded colleagues.

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