Major Twitter layoffs begin, offices temporarily close

STORY: As new Twitter owner Elon Musk left a banking conference in New York City on Friday, scores of Twitter employees were being laid off… The company temporarily closing its offices and cutting workers' access to internal systems.

The moves follow a week of chaos and uncertainty about the company's future under Musk.

Simon Balmain has worked as Senior Community Manager for Twitter in England and received Thursday’s company-wide email, warning of job losses:

“And it was about an hour after that that I found that my work laptop was remotely wiped and access to Slack and Gmail revoked. Checked in with a few U.S. colleagues who were still awake and many of them were reporting seeing the same thing."

Musk, the world's richest person, is looking to cut around 3,700 Twitter employees, or about half the workforce, as he seeks to slash costs and impose a demanding new work ethic, according to internal plans reviewed by Reuters this week.

Staff who worked in engineering, communications, product and content curation were among those impacted by the layoffs, according to tweets from Twitter staff.

Twitter employees vented their frustrations about the layoffs on the social network, using the hashtag #OneTeam.

User Rachel Bonn tweeted: "Last Thursday in the SF (San Francisco) office, really the last day Twitter was Twitter. 8 months pregnant and have a 9 month old. Just got cut off from laptop access."

Musk previously fired the company’s chief executive and top finance and legal executives.

The Tesla CEO has promised to restore free speech while preventing Twitter from descending into what he called a "hellscape."

But his reassurances have failed to prevent major advertisers from threatening to withdraw from the platform.

Musk on Friday pointed fingers at activists:

"Recently we had a lot of difficulty with activist groups pressuring major advertisers to stop spending money on Twitter. This is despite us doing everything possible to appease them and to make it clear that moderation rules have not changed and we are continuing to enforce them. A number of major advertisers have stopped spending on Twitter."

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A class action lawsuit was filed on Thursday against Twitter by its employees, who argued the company was conducting mass layoffs without providing the required 60-day advance notice, in violation of federal and California law.