Elon Musk is laying off Twitter employees around the world – POLITICO


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Dozens of Twitter employees, including some involved in the company’s public policy and content moderation activities, were laid off Friday as Elon Musk reinvents the social network.

In heartfelt tweets, many of which use the hashtags #LoveWhereYouWork and #OneTeam, employees took to the social media platform to let others know they had been made redundant. Many of these individuals had previously held positions in public policy, communications, engineering, marketing and human resources.

“All my thoughts, my respect, my energy and my love to all the tweeps in the world today,” said Damien Viel, head of operations for the company in France, wrote on Twitter. « We’ve built the most amazing app on the planet together. Let’s be proud of everything we’ve done and how we’ve done it. »

Many of those who have so far lost their jobs were barred from accessing company login credentials for online Twitter accounts on Thursday night without first being told their contracts had been terminated, according to a former employee who spoke to POLITICO on condition of anonymity.

The announcements follow an internal email that circulated on Thursday advising the company’s tens of thousands of employees around the world that they would be notified by email on Nov. 4 whether or not they would stay on the job. ‘company. According to Bloomberg, there had been speculation that up to half of Twitter’s global workforce could lose their jobs.

In Dublin, Twitter’s European headquarters, employees speaking to the Irish Times described the situation as « carnage », where layoffs are « random and indiscriminate ». A UK-based former Twitter executive told POLITICO that people were sharing frantic WhatsApp messages with colleagues, trying to gather the latest information on who had been made redundant – and who was still at the company.

« There’s a lot of droom-scrolling on Twitter to see what’s going on, » the individual, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told POLITICO.

Joan Deitchman, who was a senior engineer on Twitter’s machine learning, ethics, transparency and accountability team, written on the platform that the unit – whose work included research into how to improve transparency around automated algorithms – had been disbanded altogether. This work is central to how regulators now plan to police social media, including how potentially hateful content is automatically promoted on these platforms.

« It’s all gone, » she said.

A Twitter spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

One musk to rule them all

Disgruntled employees in the United States have launched a class action lawsuit against Twitter, claiming they did not receive sufficient notice of their contract termination under US federal law. In Europe, strict labor laws in countries like Belgium can also make it difficult — and expensive — for Musk to get rid of local employees.

« Getting rid of public policy makers when you claim to be doing ‘real free speech’ is the [stupidest] never move, » Audrey Herblin Stoopformer chief lobbyist for Twitter in France, written on the platform.

The mass layoff represents the next step in Musk’s takeover of the social network, which remains a mainstay of how political leaders from US President Joe Biden to Frenchman Emmanuel Macron to Iranian Ali Khamenei communicate with a global audience.

Within hours of acquiring Twitter in late October, Musk fired the company’s board of directors, including its chief executive Parag Argawal, as well as Vijaya Gadde, who led the legal, policy and trust teams. the social media company.

In a bid to boost revenue from the social media network that has continually struggled to turn a profit, Musk also wants to charge people $8 a month so their accounts can be verified via the company’s now-iconic « blue tick » logo. ‘company. The massive layoffs announced on Friday are also part of these efforts to make the company more profitable.

The world’s richest man has become a lightning rod for how online content should be policed ​​after posting lies surrounding the attack on US President Nancy Pelosi’s husband in California, the platform has claimed. form should be a global town hall where people can freely express their opinions, and promised advertisers that Twitter would not become a « free-for-all hellscape ».

« He specifically told us that he didn’t want Twitter to be a hate amplifier, » said Yael Eisenstat, head of the Anti-Defamation League’s Center for Technology and Society, who participated in a call with Musk. alongside other civil society groups this week. . « We will continue to monitor to make sure these actions are actually happening. »

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