Elon Musk showed up on his first day as Twitter’s new owner holding a sink. Barely three weeks later, the more appropriate analogy would have been a toilet, as the company has flushed out a good chunk of its user base and the majority of its workforce, threatening to collapse the pipes that underlie the company’s IT infrastructure. deposit, and Musk’s $44 billion investment is circling the rocks.
After laying off about half of the company’s workforce last week, Musk gave the remaining employees an ultimatum that expired on Friday, asking them to agree to work “long hours at high intensity” and be “extremely hardcore.” about their career with the company.
The email asked staff to click “yes” if they wanted to stay. Those who have not responded by 5 p.m. ET on Thursday will be deemed to have resigned and will receive severance pay, the email said.
Hundreds of Twitter employees reportedly disagreed with those terms. An earlier Musk ultimatum required all staff to return to full-time work in a Twitter office, and the company announced Thursday that all of its offices would be closed for the entire weekend until Musk could personally take care of things.
Musk sent an email to remaining Twitter staff on Friday asking all employees writing software code to report to the 10th floor of Twitter’s San Francisco office that afternoon.
In a follow-up email, the billionaire said, “I would appreciate it if you could fly to SF to attend in person.” He said he would be at Twitter’s headquarters in San Francisco until midnight and return Saturday morning.
Site infrastructure can collapse
Some experts say the deluge of departing employees could be enough to collapse the company’s IT infrastructure, at least temporarily.
“When it breaks, in many areas there’s no one left to fix things,” said a source at Twitter who asked for anonymity.
“We are seeing disruptions across the board,” Wedbush Securities technology analyst Daniel Ives said Friday. “There’s a skeleton staff left now and I think that’s pretty scary, especially around the cybersecurity side.”
“You’re starting to lose some key engineers, developers and key people internally. I think that’s where this thing can really take off,” said Ives.
He noted that it could become “really free for everyone” in terms of how it plays out.
Others say the service probably won’t go away, even temporarily.
“I don’t think this is the end,” Ritesh Kotak, a cybersecurity analyst, said in an interview with UKTN News. “But the platform is in turmoil. There are no ifs and buts.”
Technology columnist Takara Small says she’s noticed that the site seems to be running more slowly, with slowdowns and stutters in some of its usual functions.
“People say…well, if people left and the app is still running, does that mean there was a lot of bloat?” she told UKTN News in an interview Friday.
While she said Twitter might “run into technical issues or glitches and go down for a while before coming back up,” Small said she’d be surprised if the service went down completely for a period of time.
“It’s hard to say behind the scenes what was affected,” she said. “Without the engineers, without the people behind the scenes to make sure it gets back online as soon as possible, we’re going to see little things… break without the talent to put it all together.”
It has been suggested that ex-Twitter employees could try launching a similar service to compete with their former employer, but Kotak says this is a pipe dream due to its scale.
“The beauty of the internet is that you can create these tools, you can launch these tools. You certainly have the expertise to do it. But it’s easier said than done.”