Those who keep their jobs would be notified on their company email. Those who lose them would be notified via their personal email.
“Team, In an effort to put Twitter on a healthy path, we will go through the difficult process of reducing our global workforce on Friday,” the email reads. “We recognize that this will impact a number of people who have made valuable contributions to Twitter, but this action is unfortunately necessary to ensure the company’s success in the future.”
Anyone who didn’t receive an email by 5 p.m. PT was asked to contact the company. The offices would be closed on Friday.
“We recognize that this is an incredibly difficult experience to have whether you are affected or not,” the email continues. “We are grateful for your contributions to Twitter and for your patience as we move through this process.”
This was Team Musk’s first official communication with its staff.
In an effort to put Twitter on a healthy path, we will go through the difficult process of reducing our global workforce on Friday. We recognize that this will impact a number of people who have made valuable contributions to Twitter, but this action is unfortunately necessary to ensure the company’s success in the future.
Given the nature of our distributed workforce and our desire to notify affected individuals as quickly as possible, communications for this process will be via email. By 9:00 a.m. PST on Friday, November 4, everyone will receive a one-to-one email with the subject line: Your role on Twitter. Please check your email, including your spam folder.
If your job is not impacted, you will receive a notification via your Twitter email.
If your job is impacted, you will receive a notification with next steps via your personal email.
If you do not receive an email from twitter-hr@ by 5:00 p.m. PST Friday, November 4, please email email@example.com.
To help ensure the safety of every employee as well as Twitter systems and customer data, our offices will be temporarily closed and all badge access will be suspended. If you are in an office or on your way to an office, please go home.
We recognize that this is an incredibly difficult experience to have whether you are affected or not. Please continue to abide by Twitter policies that prohibit you from discussing confidential company information on social media, with the press, or elsewhere.
We appreciate your contributions to Twitter and your patience through this process.
— Email obtained by The Washington Post
In response to the email, dozens of Twitter employees posted a single blue heart to say goodbye to their colleagues. The identical hearts were posted one after another in a long scroll on the Slack company.
Twitter and Musk did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Musk is under pressure to recoup an investment in a site he admitted overpaying for. He took ownership of Twitter last week after striking a deal to buy the website for $44 billion this spring, before backing out of the purchase and then re-entering the deal amid a court date in a legal battle loomed.
Analysts have pegged Twitter’s true value at over $25 billion. Musk also took out a loan of more than $12 billion to finance the purchase of the site, according to the financial documents, putting pressure on him to cut costs and remain solvent – in the face of about $1 billion per year interest payments on this debt.
Musk is the CEO of the new company. His deputies include his lawyer, Alex Spiro, investor David Sacks and Jared Birchall, who manages Musk’s family office.
The layoff decision came after a week-long assessment of Twitter, where Musk and his deputies imposed a product freeze that halted development of Twitter’s internal projects, brought in Tesla engineers to review the code of Twitter and left workers waiting impatiently in a vacuum of information about company direction and leadership.
Musk was to press ahead with plans to lay off about 50% of Twitter staff, according to people familiar with the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity to candidly discuss confidential plans.
Musk began his tenure at Twitter a week early by ousting former executives, including the CEO, chief financial officer and general counsel.
The layoffs from Friday were expected to affect the sales, trust and safety, marketing, product, engineering and legal teams – targeting the business at all levels.
In addition to the layoffs, Musk is also expected to make drastic cuts to other parts of the business — some so deep that employees are worried about the ability to keep Twitter up and running, according to internal documents seen by The Washington Post and people familiar with the plans, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.
In messages to engineers this week, officials asked workers to suggest ways to find at least $500 million in annual cuts at the company, according to the documents and the people. The cuts would include data centers and other software infrastructure needed to run the site, as well as targeting contracted labor who perform content moderation for Twitter.
Earlier Thursday, amid reports of impending cuts, Twitter employees braced for what seemed like a foregone conclusion, updating their internal tools such as messaging apps for the latest – as the possibility of losing their jobs threatened them.
But information remained scarce until the email arrived later in the day.
At the Twitter offices, employees tearfully said goodbye, exchanged contact information, and attempted to make their documentation easily accessible to staff who were due to stay.
They wanted to make sure their colleagues could keep the site running in their absence.
Before Musk took over the site, Twitter had already planned broad layoffs, which would have affected up to a quarter of staff, according to people familiar with the plans. The Post previously reported that the company’s board planned to cut thousands of jobs as part of an effort to save $700 million in labor costs.
Will Oremus, Cat Zakrzewski and Elizabeth Dwoskin contributed to this report.