In a surprise move on Thursday, Twitter closed its offices, telling staff not to return until Monday, November 21. To ensure no one tries to enter any of its sites, badge access has also been suspended.
It’s not clear why Twitter has decided to temporarily shutter its offices, but it comes during a chaotic time for the social media platform following its $44 billion takeover by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk at the end of October.
“Effective immediately, we are temporarily closing our office buildings and all badge access will be suspended,” the widely reported message to Twitter staff said. “Offices will reopen on Monday, November 21. Thank you for your flexibility. Please continue to comply with company policy by refraining from discussing confidential company information on social media, with the press or elsewhere.”
It added: “We look forward to working with you on Twitter’s exciting future.”
The move to shutter the offices could be linked to recent reports that Musk had told Twitter’s remaining employees they were required to sign a pledge to work “long hours at high intensity” or else depart the company, according to a Washington Post report.
Anyone who declined to sign the pledge by today — Thursday — would be told to leave and given three months’ severance pay, the report said. Twitter management may have concluded that closing the offices now and suspending badge access will give it the necessary time to sort through the pledges and reshape its workforce for Monday. However, some reports have suggested hundreds of workers have refused to sign the pledge, effectively quitting their job.
If Twitter is suffering a round of mass resignations, the loss of so many personnel could put the functionality of the platform at risk for its 230 million or so users around the world.
Soon after Musk acquired the company just over three weeks ago, the CEO, chief financial officer, and entire board of directors were given their marching orders. Days later, 3,700 staff, equal to almost half the workforce, were laid off in a bid to save money, and reports this week suggested Twitter has also fired around 5,000 contract employees.
Looking at the current situation, it seems the next few days could be pivotal for Twitter’s survival.
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