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Laid off at 8 months pregnant, locked out of company email, and goodbyes: Twitter employees share horror stories of sudden layoff on a Black Friday

November 4, 2022, 6:01 PM UTC
Photo of Elon Musk
Twitter employees who were laid off are not leaving quietly.
Muhammed Selim Korkutata/Anadolu Agency—Getty Images

Twitter employees who were laid off over the past 24 hours aren’t leaving quietly. 

“Last Thursday in the SF office, really the last day Twitter was Twitter,” Rachel Bonn, a content marketing manager, tweeted, beside a photo of herself. “8 months pregnant and have a 9 month old. Just got cut off from laptop access.”

Another former employee, Rumman Chowdhury, who worked on machine learning at the company posted a photo that showed that she had been locked out of her email. A message on her login screen read: “your password was changed less than an hour ago.” Alongside the photo, she tweeted, “Has it already started? Happy layoff eve!” 

And a senior engineering manager, Joan Deitchman, on the same team shared on Twitter what she called her last Slack message to a team that she said is now “gone.” 

“Know that this was a special team. One that stuck together to the end, full of integrity, supporting each other, and willing to stand up and do the right thing,” the message said. “There will probably never be a team like Twitter META again,” a reference to her team’s name.

The layoffs come nearly a week after Tesla CEO Elon Musk acquired Twitter for $44 billion and set about to quickly overhaul the social media giant. He hasn’t tweeted about the layoffs since they started. Instead he lashed out on Twitter about activists “trying to destroy” free speech by pressuring companies to stop advertising on his service. He said the exodus has resulted in a huge drop in Twitter’s revenue. Meanwhile, the profile language on Twitter’s corporate Twitter account, as if shocked by all the upheaval, has been switched to ask no one in particular: “What’s happening?!”

In the weeks leading up to the takeover, several news outlets reported about Musk’s layoff plans, including one that said Musk was planning to cut 75% of Twitter’s workforce of 7,500. The actual total is expected to be 50% of the company, or 3,700 workers. 

Back on Twitter, another former Twitter employee, Chris Younie, who worked on entertainment partnerships for the company, and who seemed resigned to being laid off, wrote: “well this isn’t looking promising. Can’t log into emails. Mac wont turn on. But so grateful this is happening at 3am. Really appreciate the thoughtfulness on the timing front guys.”

Twitter’s former senior community manager, Simon Balmain, wrote: “Looks like I’m unemployed y’all. Just got remotely logged out of my work laptop and removed from Slack…So sad it had to end this way.”

Meanwhile, other former employees have posted messages saying they’re grateful and honored to have worked at Twitter, using the hashtag #LoveWhereYouWorked. Some also posted photos of them with their colleagues, reminiscing on the memories they shared.

But not all employees are upset about being let go. 

“Honestly happy to be laid off but the veil of @elonmusk is pierced,” Kushal Dave, the company’s former director of engineering, wrote. “As messy as Twitter was pre-elon, it is a veritable clowntown of politics and toadyism and psychological abuse now. Afraid to get in my Tesla with what I learned this week.”

“And extremely pissed for the people who were on the wrong side of Elon’s court intrigue. This isn’t a game,” he continued. “Also just bad decision making as a business owner.”

Another former employee Kristian Lum, a machine learning researcher, wrote, “and I’m out. Condolences to the survivors.”  

Twitter and its former employees cited in this article did not immediately respond to Fortune’s request for comment. 

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