According to internal conversations provided with CNBC by full-time Twitter employees, a sizable number of Twitter’s contract workers realised they were abruptly terminated this weekend after they lost access to Slack and other work tools.
Platformer, which broke the news of the downsizing first, estimates that 4,400 of its 5,500 contract employees were laid off. The entire number has not been confirmed by CNBC.
Some of Twitter’s contract employees were based abroad, including in India. As they were not authorised to speak on behalf of Twitter, full-time employees who asked to remain anonymous said they were not given any internal notice before contractors they were working with were fired.
These workers claim that Twitter has fired the entire internal communications team. They also made sour jokes about how the company’s public coverage now serves as internal communications.
The cancellation of contractors’ projects would be the most recent layoff at the social media site, which had already let go of about half of its workforce when Elon Musk bought the business on October 28.
An inquiry for comment was not immediately answered by Musk or Twitter.
Jack Dorsey, the co-founder of Twitter, issued an apology last week, a day after the social media company announced the layoffs, for growing the business “too quickly.” Dorsey rolled his own shares into the new holding company and personally pushed Musk to acquire his business in a difficult leveraged buyout.
Approximately 2,000 people were employed by Twitter as of June 30, 2013, just before it went public, according to documents submitted to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The business reported that by year’s end, it now employed about 7,500 people full-time.
On Nov. 4, Musk tweeted about the layoffs, saying: “Regarding Twitter’s reduction in force, regrettably there is no choice when the firm is losing over $4M/day. Everyone who was let go received a 3 month severance package, which is 50% more than what was legally required.
Since assuming control, Musk has disclosed to the surviving Twitter employees that he sold shares in his electric vehicle company, Tesla, worth billions of dollars in order to “rescue” Twitter. It’s unclear whether Musk will keep selling Tesla stock to reduce Twitter’s debt.
Additionally, he warned Twitter staff that bankruptcy is a possibility for the social media company amid the economic slump and that advertisers had stopped or reduced spending on the platform during his turbulent tenure takeover.