#RIPTwitter trending as offices closed and many refusing to sign Musk’s pledge of allegiance


#RIPTwitter, #TwitterDown, and #GoodByeTwitter are among the trending hashtags on the social media platform, as the world watches the latest developments in the slow-motion car crash.

Two developments in particular are leading to an acceleration in fears that Twitter’s troubles may be about to get even worse …

After laying off around half the workforce, Musk told the rest that they would need to pledge to work hard for long hours if they wanted to keep their jobs. Only “exceptional†performance would be considered good enough to retain their roles. He gave them less than 48 hours to agree to new and unspecified conditions of employment, otherwise he would consider them to have resigned.

Musk seemingly hoped that the tactic would persuade most remaining staff to sign up for a gruelling work schedule, but reports suggest that this is very much not what happened. When the deadline expired, Fortune reports that only around 25% of surviving employees had agreed, suggesting that as few as a thousand employees might remain in post if Musk follows through with his threat.

Some employees who were departing speculated that so many were leaving, along with their knowledge of how the product works, that the social network may have trouble fixing problems or updating systems during its normal operations, according to people familiar with the matter.

The picture was becoming clear to the billionaire owner as the deadline approached, and he began fire-fighting attempts. He first softened his tone on remote working, stating that it would now be allowed if line managers permitted it, but those managers would have to take responsibility for their remote workers delivering “excellent†performance. The clear implication was that the managers would be risking their own jobs.

Musk followed this by inviting to a meeting those he considered essential to the company, and who hadn’t signed the pledge, attempting to persuade them to stay.

A panicked Musk then deactivated all employee badges, fearing that those leaving the company might sabotage things.

In a comical twist, it turned out that one of those fired was the only person who could let Musk and his team back into the building.

It’s unclear at this point whether Musk will do a U-turn on his ‘no pledge, no job’ stance. Employees who did not sign report that they still had full access to Twitter internal systems after the deadline expired.

Many Twitter users are pondering their plans if the platform does die. The main contender as a potential replacement appears to be Mastodon, which has seen subscriber numbers triple to over 1.6M in the past fortnight.

While this is of course trivial compared to Twitter, self-described data junkie James Eagle put together a fun animation to show that market dominance at any one point in time doesn’t necessarily mean much.

Others are looking to Instagram or Tumblr, while some are joking that it might be time for MySpace to make its comeback.

9to5Mac’s Take

Right now, the demise of Twitter looks like an unlikely prospect. That said, if I wanted to kill the company, I can’t think of a more effective way to do it than Musk’s assorted actions since taking ownership.

We don’t know at this stage whether the reported number of effective resignations is correct, nor whether the king of the U-turn will carry out his threat to let them go. If both are indeed the case, then we can certainly expect various service failures in the short-term. Anyone making predictions beyond that is braver than me.

Photo: Jason Paris/CC2.0

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