Twitter offices have closed, employees are reportedly leaving en masse, and those that remain are warning that the website does not have long before it's "dead". Just what the hell is going on at the website valued (by Musk, at least) at $44 billion just a few short weeks ago?
Earlier this week, Musk offered his employees an ultimatum: sign up to "hardcore" Twitter and "long hours at high intensity" or leave the company with severance. It appears that hundreds of people who survived the first round of 3,500 redundancies have chosen to take the chance to leave the company, including a lot of engineers responsible for keeping the site alive.
The world's richest man had earlier made other changes to work patterns at the company, announcing that everyone would have to work from the office unless they have his specific approval.
“Remote work is no longer allowed, unless you have a specific exception," he told employees. "Managers will send the exception lists to me for review and approval."
On Thursday, he closed the offices, making that instruction somewhat difficult. The managing editor of Platformer reports that the move of closing the offices until Monday is out of fear that former employees may tamper with the platform before they leave.
"Twitter just alerted employees that effective immediately, all office buildings are temporarily closed and badge access is suspended. No details given as to why," Schiffer wrote on Twitter, adding that employees have been asked to comply with Twitter policy of not discussing confidential company information on social media or with the press.
"We're hearing this is because Elon Musk and his team are terrified employees are going to sabotage the company. Also, they're still trying to figure out which Twitter workers they need to cut access for."
Verge editor Alex Heath reports that, though access has been cut off to HQ for employees until Monday, many of the employees still have access to Twitter systems.
"Hundreds upon hundreds of Twitter employees have technically resigned but still have access to Twitter’s internal systems," Heath wrote on Twitter, "with some speculating it is because the employees tasked with managing that access also resigned".
Engineers within and without Twitter have warned that in the coming weeks and months, with Twitter site reliability engineer Ben Krueger telling MIT Technology Review that big problems could happen when large volumes of traffic hit the site, such as what happens during large news events. When you have a diminished site reliability team, and focus is shifted to new features, this could be when bigger breaks might happen. The breaks will accumulate, according to the engineer, until eventually the site becomes "not usable". This problem, he said, would be compounded by engineers being tired and overworked.
Users have been reporting more outages on the website last night, which could be due to increased traffic as many on the website speculated, joked, and generally tweeted about its demise.
Predictions about the demise of the social media giant have moved up in their timescale. One of its remaining employees has told Newsweek reporter Travis Akers the website "has about a week left before it’s dead".