Twitter has temporarily closed its offices as more staff chose to leave, sparking new concerns about the site’s ability to stay online.
According to reports in the US, the social media giant has closed its offices until Monday over fears disgruntled staff could sabotage the company.
It comes after hundreds of workers are said to have rejected an ultimatum from new owner Elon Musk to sign up for longer, more intense working hours in order to build a new “hardcore” Twitter – Musk said those who did not sign up would be let go.
The Twitter boss had sent an email to staff on Wednesday asking them to click yes on a form to confirm they would stay at the company under his new rules, with those who did not by Thursday evening given three months’ severance pay.
The number of staff choosing to leave appears to have surprised Musk and his team.
The billionaire has now backpedalled on his insistence that everyone work from the office – his initial rejection of remote work had alienated many employees who survived the first round of layoffs.
And he softened his earlier tone in an email to employees, writing that “all that is required for approval is that your manager takes responsibility for ensuring you are making an excellent contribution”.
Workers would also be expected to have “in-person meetings with your colleagues on a reasonable cadence, ideally weekly, but not less than once per month”.
Since taking over Twitter less than three weeks ago, Musk has cut half of the company’s full-time staff of 7,500 and an untold number of contractors responsible for content moderation and other crucial efforts.
Many have now taken to Twitter to say their goodbyes to colleagues, while there are reports of hundreds of staff confirming in private message channels that they are leaving.
As a result, concerns have been raised that the platform could struggle to stay online as large numbers of people tasked with its maintenance leave the company and that any issues that arise could take longer to fix without key engineers in place to handle such problems.
#RIPTwitter and #GoodbyeTwitter have been trending on the platform as users also consider leaving the site and some have begun pointing followers to their accounts on other platforms.
The Tesla and SpaceX boss has continued to tweet throughout the ongoing turmoil, often mocking the concerns raised about the company by posting memes and jokes about the situation.
“How do you make a small fortune in social media? Start with a large one,” he joked.
He also claimed that the concerns were driving more traffic on the site, saying overnight the company had “just hit another all-time high in Twitter usage”.