An ex-Twitter employee says the company’s mission to make people’s lives better ‘went to garbage’ after Elon Musk took over

February 6, 2023, 9:59 PM UTC
Photo illustration of Elon Musk smirking inside the Twitter bird logo.
An ex-Twitter employee went on the offensive against Elon Musk.
Photo illustration by Fortune; Original photo by Getty Images

Elon Musk didn’t realize what would hit him when he took over Twitter. The company’s employees didn’t know what would hit them either.

On day one, Musk removed Twitter’s CEO, CFO, and legal counsel. And one week in, he abruptly fired 50% of all workers, or about 3,700 employees, and many of them weren’t paid severance until months after.

Now, laid-off employees are going to arbitration against Musk and Twitter for allegedly failing to deliver on financial promises the company made to employees before the $44 billion acquisition in October, along with discrimination and fraud. 

Among the many laid-off employees was Amir Shevat, former head of product at Twitter’s developer platform who joined a year earlier when Twitter acquired his company, Reshuffle. He described his tenure ending suddenly, as well as his team’s.

“We got an email saying there was some sort of restructuring and then what happened is, I was communicating with my team, and one after the other they were telling me that their computer got ‘bricked,’” Shevat explained to BBC on Friday, referring to employees losing access to everything stored in their computers.

“We wanted to make people’s lives more pleasant and more productive. And all of that went to garbage when Elon bought the company,” Shevat said.

He told the BBC that he was not against the layoffs, but took issue with how it was done. For one, the company promised employees four months of severance pay but ultimately gave them one month’s worth, according to Shevat.

“The way to do it is in a legal way, empathetic way, and a highly communicative way. And in all of these Elon, in his leadership, failed,” Shevat said, adding that he is “worried” about Twitter’s future.

He has joined scores of employees entering an arbitration process with Twitter, which involves a private arbiter deciding how to resolve the claims. Many of the former Twitter employees are represented by California-based lawyer Lisa Bloom.

Twitter did not respond to Fortune’s request for comment. Shevat did not immediately respond to Fortune’s request for comment.

In recent months, several tech companies have announced mass layoffs including Meta, Salesforce, Google, and Microsoft. Since the start of 2023, about 300 tech companies have cut over 94,000 jobs, according to layoffs data aggregator

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