Internal Twitter Slack reportedly called the widely-reported 3,700, or 50% cuts to Twitter’s global staff “The Snap” ala the famed dusting of half the universe’s sentient life from Avengers: Infinity War. Though as many internet folks were quick to point out, such a move would also lead to even more harm. Without 50% of the world’s population, how can the remaining people possibly maintain the infrastructure—like food, heating, and energy production—that kept them all alive in the first place?
Well, Twitter’s new owner Elon Musk, the real Thanos of our time, has apparently run into the same dilemma with his own staff cuts that a “snapped” world probably faced. Tech blogger Casey Newton originally reported late Friday based on unknown sources and internal Twitter chats that the company started reaching out to some of the folks it fired, asking them to come back. The firings were apparently so slapdash, some of those folks the company let go were “accidentally” given the ax, while others were asked to come back once the company realized they were needed to help build the new features Musk so desperately wants.
Twitter did not immediately respond to Gizmodo’s request for comment.
Newton reported that messages on the internal Slack channel included word from some supervisor who said they needed “some Android and iOS help.”
Bloomberg and Business Insider both later confirmed Newton’s reporting, all based on anonymous sources with knowledge of the matter alongside internal messages. Insider noted that at least one of those workers who was asked to return rejected Twitter’s offer, reportedly saying they felt “used.” The company is already being sued by fired employees who say Musk didn’t give them the legally mandated 60 days notice in California.
Those firings from last week came so fast that some workers did not apparently know they were gone until they lost access to the company email and Slack. Musk has reportedly been working the remaining Twitter employees hard to push some features, like the ability to attach long-form text to tweets. Though according to some ex-Twitter staff, some of these were features they were already working on, and they were given the boot anyway. Older Twitter focused on running new features through internal and outside tests, but Musk is reportedly much more focused on getting features out the door, a kind of “break it, and fix it later approach.”
Though many were anticipating Twitter releasing its new $8 verification model Monday, CNN reported based on an internal source that full implementation of paid-for verification will be delayed until after the U.S. midterms, with voting set for Tuesday.
Musk needs Twitter to start making money, and fast. The rush is evident from Musk’s rapid-fire tweets on the subject of making Twitter profitable, but there’s also a sense of the company backsliding with the news its quickly losing advertisers. Somewhere around 90% of Twitter’s revenue has come from advertising.
Though the company needs some technical staff to return, the Musk-controlled platform is not likely gunning for more ethics teams in the near future. The watchdog team that probed the platform’s algorithms for bias was disbanded with most of its employees sacked.