Twitter, which has had a turbulent year in the public eye, cut hundreds of contract workers without giving their internal teams a heads up. The company reported it was going to lay off 9% of its employees, but that number included contractors and many were dismayed to discover they were suddenly out of work with no warning from the company itself. Twitter hasn’t specified how many contractors will be affected or what their roles were, but word has it that those in sales and business development will take the brunt of the cuts this time around.
According to internal conversations provided with CNBC by full-time Twitter employees, a sizable number of Twitter’s contract workers realised they were abruptly dismissed this weekend when 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.
Some of Twitter’s contract employees were based abroad, including in India. As they were not allowed to speak on behalf of Twitter, full-time workers who requested to remain anonymous stated they were not given any internal warning before contractors they were working with were fired.
These workers claim that Twitter has fired the entire internal communications staff. They also made sour jokes about how the company’s media coverage now serves as internal communications.
The termination of contractors’ projects would be the most recent layoff at the social networking site, which had previously let go of around 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 through a contentious leveraged buyout.
Approximately 2,000 people were employed by Twitter as of June 30, 2013, just before it went public, according to records submitted to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The business said 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 option 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 necessary.
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.
In light of the current economic climate and the fact that advertisers have stopped or reduced their spending on Twitter during his tumultuous takeover, he also warned Twitter employees that bankruptcy is not out of the question for the social media company.