Twitter has closed its offices after hundreds of employees rejected new owner Elon Musk's offer to stay on at the company only if they committed to an "extremely hardcore" work schedule of "long hours at high intensity."
According to the media reports, Twitter messaged its staff early on Friday to inform them that, "effective immediately, we are temporarily closing our office buildings" until next Monday. It also called on staff to "continue to comply with company policy by refraining from discussing confidential company information on social media, with the press or elsewhere".
Since the company's buildings' closure was first reported, #TwitterRIP began trending on the platform as public figures, celebrities, and ordinary users speculated as to whether Twitter would survive the recent flurry of resignations.
This trend was then satirised by Musk himself, who indulged his penchant for irreverent humour by tweeting a meme implying that Twitter had effectively ceased to exist.
Chaos and confusion
The buildings' closure only compounds the chaos that has afflicted Twitter ever since Musk, the world's richest man, bought the platform for $44 billion late last month.
Shortly after his takeover, Musk fired half of the company's staff — representing approximately 4,000 jobs — and then, in an abrupt and unexplained reversal, asked for several dozen to come back. He also reportedly terminated the contracts of dozens of employees who had criticised him either in person or via the platform.
Musk had recently informed his remaining staff that "to build a breakthrough Twitter 2.0 and succeed in an increasingly competitive world, we will need to be extremely hardcore". Accordingly, he offered them an ultimatum to commit to this "high intensity" work schedule by 17:00 Eastern Time on Thursday, or accept redundancy with three months' severance pay.
Judging by the chaos and confusion currently engulfing the platform, it would appear that Musk severely underestimated the number of people who would choose the latter option.
"I didn't want to work for someone who threatened us over email multiple times about only 'exceptional tweeps should work here' when I was already working 60-70 hours weekly," an anonymous former Twitter employee told the BBC.
Musk's recent tweets, however, suggest that he remains almost entirely unperturbed by recent events.
"The best people are staying, so I’m not super worried," he tweeted on Friday, before declaring that the platform had reached "all-time high in Twitter usage".
Musk claims to have acquired Twitter with the lofty ambition of "helping humanity" rather than for purely business reasons, arguing, among other things, that it "helps empower citizen journalism."
"The reason I acquired Twitter is because it is important to the future of civilisation to have a common digital town square, where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner, without resorting to violence," he wrote in a statement posted on Twitter in late October.