Elon Musk executes Twitter handlers after mass layoffs

Illustration: Natalie Peebles / Axios

After laying off half of its staff earlier this month, Twitter on Saturday began culling senior ranks from its contract employees, sources confirmed to Axios.

why does it matterLike many companies, Twitter employees consist of a mix of full-time employees as well as contract workers who work for a third party.

detailsSources confirmed to Axios that Twitter has cut an unspecified number of contractors in various areas, including moderating content.

  • The situation of many contractors has been in limbo since Twitter laid off half its staff earlier this month, with some not knowing who they would report to, as their peers within the company were laid off.
  • Some are now worried about their final salaries because their teams no longer have any full-time Twitter employees to sign their time cards, sources told Axios.
  • Contractor had cuts observed earlier Saturday by Casey Newton Platform.

Between the lines: In at least some, if not all, cases, workers did not receive any direct communication from Twitter telling them their work was done.

  • Instead, they found out by seeing that their access to Twitter’s computer systems had been shut down.
  • This parallels the scene when full-time employees discover they have lost their jobs, not from email promised on Friday, but overnight on Thursday as they lost access to email and other corporate computing systems.
  • Since then, Twitter has continued to reassign some full-time employees after they realized their skills were essential to existing projects, including new features that were a priority for the company.
  • Meanwhile, some contractors are concerned about getting paid over the past two weeks, as a number of contractors on teams without full-time employees have ended up on Twitter and let no one sign their time cards, Axios sources reported.

The Big Picture: Twitter has been in turmoil since Elon Musk took over, with products and features launched and then pulled.

  • This includes a new version of the Twitter Blue subscription service that allows subscribers to get the same blue check mark given to verified accounts of politicians, journalists, government agencies and celebrities.
  • Twitter suspended it earlier this week after a torrent of impersonators used the subscription service to impersonate several prominent brands, athletes and politicians.

what are they saying: Melissa Engel, a San Francisco-based content curation contractor who specializes in political disinformation, was Among those cut.

  • Engel, who has two master’s degrees and teaches data science skills, said she was surprised by the move, and worried about providing for her family as vacation approaches.
  • “I am the person you want in your company,” she told Axios. “This is not a way to treat people.”
  • Twitter has cut off all of its communications staff and there was no immediate response to the company’s press account email.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with additional details about contractor concerns.

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