Is Twitter shutting down? What’s happening after Elon Musk ultimatum

The Twitter logo is seen at the social media company’s headquarters in San Francisco on Friday, Nov. 11, 2022.

Stephen Lam, San Francisco Chronicle via Associated Press

After laying off half of Twitter’s 7,500 employees earlier this month shortly following his take over of the social media platform, Elon Musk dropped an email on the remaining staffers on Wednesday with an ultimatum.

Musk gave them until Thursday evening to either commit to working extra hours and being “extremely hardcore” employees or taking three months severance pay and leaving the company.

As the deadline approached Thursday, numerous employees signaled they were done with Musk’s shenanigans. As of Friday morning, it appeared hundreds of Twitter employees opted for the door.

While Twitter sent out a notice that its San Francisco headquarters would be closed to all remaining employees on Friday and through the weekend, the company has yet to confirm the number of exits Musk’s email incited. Industry watchers say the mass exodus could impact the platform’s ability to continue trouble-free operations, and the hashtag #RIPTwitter was trending on the platform.

But Musk seemed to discount any concerns about the staff losses, dropping a tweet Thursday evening in which he wrote that “the best people are staying, so I’m not super worried about it.”

How many Twitter employees left after Elon Musk’s email?

Hundreds of employees signaled they were leaving ahead of a Thursday deadline set by Musk, posting farewell messages, a salute emoji or other symbols familiar to Twitter workers on the company’s internal Slack messaging board, according to employees who still have access to the board, per The Associated Press. Dozens also took publicly to Twitter to announce they were signing off after the deadline.

In the Wednesday email to staffers, Musk signaled that, for those who chose to stay with the company, working extra hours would be mandatory and anything less than “exceptional performance” could jeopardize continued employment.

“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 memo that was reviewed by CNN. “This will mean working long hours at high intensity. Only exceptional performance will constitute a passing grade.”

Is Twitter shutting down?

The number of engineers overseeing multiple critical systems has been reduced following Musk’s ultimatum, in some cases to near zero, according to people familiar with the situation who spoke to The Washington Post. Hashtags including #RIPTwitter, #TwitterDown and #Goodbye have been trending.

Some Twitter users — including politicians, embassies and government departments — have started preparing for the worst in case the site goes down permanently.

Fears that Twitter could go down are linked to the current staffing crisis. People familiar with the situation say many engineers working on critical systems have left, leaving the system vulnerable to problems and with few people left to fix them, according to The Washington Post.

The Post also reported that the departures are said to have had a major impact on teams working on misinformation and fake accounts, which could lead to an increase in online harassment or dangers for activists and others who use the site to share sensitive information.

Early Friday morning, Musk tweeted that Twitter volumes were up and the platform was “more alive than ever.”

Twitter advertisers are also leaving

Earlier this month, a coalition of groups and individuals known as “Stop Toxic Twitter,” which includes the Anti-Defamation League, Color Of Change and the NAACP, called on advertisers to pull out. But even before this, L’Oréal, Oreo maker Mondelez and Audi already temporarily pulled ad spending on Twitter, according to The San Francisco Chronicle.

Musk shared his sentiments over the loss of Twitter advertisers in tweets in which he suggested that advertisers are supporting “political ‘correctness’” in pulling out of the platform. Musk also tweeted earlier this month that the advertiser exodus is being driven by “activist” groups who Musk also accused of “trying to destroy free speech.”

Paid advertising on the platform, which boasts around 240 million daily users, is key to Twitter’s business model and reportedly accounts for about 90% of the company’s revenues.


Is Twitter shutting down? What’s happening after Elon Musk ultimatum