Tue. Dec 6th, 2022

Elon Musk sent an email to Twitter staff on Friday asking all employees writing software code to report to the 10th floor of the San Francisco office in the early afternoon, according to multiple news reports.

In a follow-up email, the billionaire said, “If possible, I would appreciate it if you could fly to SF to be present in person,” adding that he would be at the company’s headquarters by midnight and return Saturday morning, Reuters reported.

He said the engineers should be back at 2pm on Friday.

The emails came a day after reports indicated an estimated 1,000 to 1,200 Twitter employees had decided to leave the beleaguered social media company after Musk gave a deadline on Thursday for employees to sign up for “long, high-intensity hours” or leave. The New York Times also reported on the email and employee decisions.

In true Twitter fashion, dozens of employees tweeted their resignations with a version of the company’s internal slogan #lovewhereyouworked. “I may be #exceptional, but damn, I’m just not #hardcore,” tweeted Andrea Horst, who worked in supply chain and capacity management at Twitter.

The company told employees it would close its offices and remove access to badges by Monday, Reuters reported, citing two unnamed sources, and it was not immediately known if the headquarters had reopened.

Musk ordered employees to email him a summary of what their software code had “achieved” over the past six months, “along with up to 10 screenshots of the most prominent lines of code.”

“There will be short, technical interviews that will allow me to better understand Twitter’s technology stack,” Musk wrote in one of the emails.

Musk said earlier this week that some Tesla engineers were helping to evaluate Twitter’s engineering teams, but said it was on a “voluntary basis” and “off hours.”

The loss of employees in key engineering positions comes just days before the World Cup, when the service typically expects a surge in traffic. The high-traffic event could be an important test for the new Twitter 2.0, Musk said, and as the company expects to operate with a reduced workforce.

Musk said he would try to talk to employees remotely via video, and that only people who couldn’t physically make it to the company’s headquarters or had a family emergency would be exempt.

In his first email to Twitter employees this month, Musk said, “We’re also changing Twitter policy so that remote work is no longer allowed, unless you have a special exception.”

“Administrators will send me exception lists for review and approval.”

The telecommuting policy sparked a proposed class action lawsuit filed by Dmitry Borodaenko, a Twitter employee who said he was fired for not reporting to the office. Borodaenko, who has a disability that makes him vulnerable to Covid-19, alleges that the telecommuting policy, as well as the requirement to work long, intensive hours, violates the Americans with Disabilities Act, according to the lawsuit.

Musk’s first three weeks as owner of Twitter have been marked by rapid change and chaos. He quickly fired Twitter’s previous CEO and other senior executives, then laid off half the staff earlier this month.

Yoel Roth, the former head of trust and security who was tapped to ease advertiser concerns about the platform, said in a New York Times op-ed that he decided to resign last week because it was clear that Musk would be the one to unilaterally recall all recordings. “Twitter, whose policies are defined by unilateral edict, has little need of a trust and security function dedicated to its principled development,” Roth wrote.

Musk tweeted late Thursday that he wasn’t worried about the resignations because “the best people stay.”

“So where does Twitter go from here?” wrote Roth. “Some of the company’s decisions in the weeks and months ahead, like the almost certain return of Donald Trump’s account to service, will have an immediate, noticeable effect. But to really understand the shape of Twitter in the future, I would encourage you to look not only at the choices the company makes, but also at how Mr. Musk makes them.”