Twitter Inc has made further staff cuts to the trust and safety team responsible for global content moderation and the hate speech and harassment unit, Bloomberg reported on Saturday. At least a dozen additional cuts on Friday night hit workers at the company’s offices in Dublin and Singapore, the report said, citing people familiar with the matter.
Among those fired at the Elon Musk-owned social media platform are Nur Azhar Bin Ayob, a relatively recent recruit as site integrity manager for the Asia-Pacific region, and Analuisa Dominguez, senior director of revenue policy of Twitter, Bloomberg reported. Workers in teams dealing with disinformation policy, international appeals and state media on the platform were also removed, the report added.
Twitter’s vice president of trust and safety, Ella Irwin, confirmed to Reuters that Twitter had made cuts to the trust and safety team on Friday night, but did not elaborate: thousands of people within Trust and Safety who work on content moderation and don’t make any cuts to the teams that do this work every day,” he said by e-mail. Some of the cuts, he said, are in areas that lack in the volume that continues to exist or places where it makes sense to combine.
Shortly after Elon Musk took over, Twitter laid off nearly 50% of its employees, including trust and safety team employees, the company’s head of safety and integrity, Yoel Roth, admitted in a tweet : Yesterday’s reduction in human resources affected approximately 15% of our Trust & Safety organization (compared to approximately 50% company-wide layoffs), with our front-line moderation staff having the least impact. Therefore, Twitter laid off about 3,700 employees in early November as part of a cost-cutting measure by Musk, and hundreds more resigned afterward.
Several members of Twitter’s Machine Learning, Ethics, Transparency and Accountability (META) team, including its former head, posted on Twitter that they are no longer in business. At least one of the former workers suggested that the entire team be disbanded.
Through tweets, several members of the META team indicated that they were affected by the layoffs. META chief Rumman Chowdhury posted a screenshot showing her apparently being kicked out of her Twitter account with the caption: Has it started? Happy layoff eve! Rumman Chowdhury, who has led a number of transparency initiatives within the company, including the launch of a first-of-its-kind algorithmic bias bounty challenge, went on to say: this site’s downfall is on.
Other former members of the META team say they have been made redundant, with former Senior Engineering Manager Joan Deitchman saying the team no longer exists.
For his part, Elon Musk tried to justify the decision to part with so many employees: When it comes to reducing Twitter, unfortunately, there is no other option when the company loses more than $ 4 million a day. All those released were offered 3 months severance pay, 50% more than the legal requirement.
Complaints to denounce the layoffs abounded
Twitter will disproportionately target women in layoffs
The company was hit with a lawsuit last month that said the social media company disproportionately targeted employees in layoffs. The proposed class action lawsuit, filed in early December in federal court in San Francisco, says that after Elon Musk took over Twitter, he fired 57% of his female workers compared to 47% of his male workers.
The gender gap was more marked for engineering positions, where 63% of women lost their jobs compared to 48% of men, according to the complaint. The lawsuit brought by two women who were fired by Twitter in December accuses the company of violating federal and California laws that prohibit gender discrimination in the workplace.
Shannon Liss-Riordan, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said women had targets on their backs once Musk acquired the company, regardless of their talent and contributions. Liss-Riordan represents current and former Twitter employees in three other ongoing lawsuits filed in the same court since last month.
These lawsuits include various allegations, including that Twitter terminated employees and contractors without notice as required by law and failed to pay promised severance pay, and that Musk fired disabled workers through of refusing to leave. allowing remote work and calling employees to be more hardcore.
At least three workers have separately filed complaints against Twitter with the US National Labor Relations Board, saying they face retaliation for advocating for better working conditions.
Twitter has denied wrongdoing in the litigation involving the notice and has not responded to other complaints.
Twitter faces a class action lawsuit over mass layoffs without 60 days’ notice as required by law
The complaint states that Twitter began its removal on 1eh November, when he fired the main plaintiff in the case, Emmanuel Cornet, without giving him proper written notice.
That violates US and California law. The WARN Act states that the sale of a company that results in mass layoffs or plant closings is included — in other words, the WARN Act applies to Twitter layoffs, regardless of how the issue is decided. The other plaintiffs – Justine De Caires, Jessica Pan and Grae Kindel – said they were fired on Thursday November 3 by locking their accounts. The lawsuit added that the California Department of Employment Development did not receive notice of the mass layoffs that began in early November.
Although they have already lost their jobs, the complaint says the five plaintiffs are “concerned that Twitter will proceed with these layoffs without providing the required notice”. The plaintiffs are demanding that Twitter and its owner be forced to comply with federal and California WARN laws, both of which provide for a mandatory 60-day notice period before mass layoffs. The plaintiffs also sought compensatory damages and interest, including costs and back wages. Analysts say these provisions are not a major requirement of the WARN Act.
These will be consistent with the penalties provided by the US Department of Labor for violations of the law. The latter stipulates that any company found guilty of violating the WARN Act will be liable to each employee for an amount including back wages and benefits for the period of the violation, up to 60 days. That’s a lot of money many employees will have to pay if Musk can’t get out – just add to the mountain of debt he and his financiers incurred in the purchase, which surely bodes well for the future of the Internet’s private public sphere.
At the same time, the complaint reminds the court that Musk has previously terminated employees without notice, referring to Tesla’s layoffs. Tesla, of which Musk is the largest shareholder, is being sued by former employees after mass layoffs in June 2022. In the case, Musk ordered Tesla executives to pause all hiring and prepare for job cuts. The employees were never notified and hundreds of them were reportedly fired weeks later. Attorneys representing two Tesla workers filed a lawsuit against Tesla for violating the WARN Act.
In 2014, SpaceX employees filed a lawsuit over a mass layoff at the company’s Hawthorne, California factory. SpaceX settled its WARN litigation in 2016 with a $4 million payout split among 4,100 employees. The new lawsuit against Twitter alleges that under the terms of the acquisition agreement, Musk agreed to keep employee compensation and benefits unchanged. This means that terminated employees must receive 60 days’ salary and the cash value of the shares they would have received within three months of their last date of employment with the company.
Elon Musk, the richest man in the world [ndlr. ce qui n’est plus le cas depuis un petit moment dj], made it clear that he thinks it’s “pointless” to follow federal labor laws. We filed this federal complaint to hold Twitter accountable under our laws and to prevent Twitter employees from inadvertently waiving their rights. Employees should be careful before signing what is offered to them. “We are prepared to file complaints on behalf of Twitter employees who are being fired without notice or severance pay,” said Shannon Liss-Riordan, one of the lawyers who filed the complaint.
Separately, “we are investigating whether Twitter attempted to avoid its obligation to pay stock options it owed employees by firing them today,” he added. According to critics, the company’s dismissal process was chaotic and cold-blooded. Instead of being notified in person, Twitter employees were told they would receive an email with an update on their work status on Friday at 9am. If they still have work, the email will arrive in their work inbox. Otherwise, they will receive a personal email, cutting off access to internal systems.
Are you surprised to see Twitter keep laying off?