More layoffs at Twitter, and loyalist Esther Crawford isn't spared
This article has been updated to reflect the growing number of laid off employees, which now includes Haraldur Thorleifsson and Leah Culver.
Twitter has laid off more than 200 employees, according to a report from The New York Times, Platformer and posts on social media from former workers.
And apparently not even Elon Musk loyalist Esther Crawford, the chief executive of Twitter payments who oversaw the company's Twitter Blue verification subscription, was spared, according to Platformer's Zoë Schiffer. Alex Heath of The Verge also confirmed that Crawford and most of the remaining product team were laid off this weekend, leading many to speculate that Musk is cleaning house to redecorate with a new regime.
Recall that Crawford had been swept up by Musk's hardcore takeover of Twitter last year, even boasting on the platform about sleeping at the office to handle round-the-clock demands from her new boss.
When your team is pushing round the clock to make deadlines sometimes you #SleepWhereYouWork https://t.co/UBGKYPilbD
— Esther Crawford ✨ (@esthercrawford) November 2, 2022
The layoffs came this weekend after Twitter employees realized they had been cut off from using Slack. While it later came out that Twitter hadn't paid its Slack bill on time, that's not why the platform went down. The Platformer reported that someone at Twitter manually shut off access. Many employees worried that this was the first sign of layoffs to come, and while correlation does not equal causation, an entire company being cut off from their main mode of communication as layoffs started dropping like bombs caused confusion and panic all around.
"Slack is gone so noone know what is going on," reads one post on Blind, an anonymous platform for verified workers. "People receive email at 2am on saturday and access cut immediately. This will go down as one of the most extreme layoff in entire corporate history."
The post went on to detail the extent of the layoffs: 50% in human relations, 60% in sales and marketing, 35% in engineering, 40% in finance and 80% in project management. Employees have received one month's severance, the poster said. Twitter has not responded to requests for comment, nor has it released a public statement on the layoffs.
Crawford, formerly of Squad, was one of four founders of companies that Twitter had acquired under previous owners to be laid off. Haraldur Thorleifsson (Ueno), Leah Culver (Breaker) and Martijn de Kuijper (Revue) were all let go, as well. They had previously been on a "do not fire" list because it would be so expensive to pay them out -- part of their compensation packages included accelerated stock vesting.
De Kuijper tweeted that he found out about his own lack of a job after being locked out of his email account.
"Waking up to find I've been locked out of my email. Looks like I'm let go. Now my Revue journey is really over," tweeted de Kuijper.
Since Musk took over Twitter in October last year, the company's headcount has fallen by over 70%. This latest round of layoffs comes after Musk promised in November that no more layoffs were to come. But Musk has a reputation for making promises he can't keep, whether it's swearing that Tesla will solve full self-driving "next year" every year since 2014 or reassuring investors that he's done selling Tesla stock, only to sell $3.5 billion more in Tesla stock.
Musk has not responded to TechCrunch's request for comment, made via the Musk equivalent of a hail mary -- through a tweet.