Twitter has been on an unhinged downward spiral, for what seems like an eternity, after billionaire Elon Musk's takeover of the company last month. It has reached a staged where Twitter users have started preparing for the eventuality of not having the social media network at their disposal.
The fear (and speculation) was further aggravated by a Grant Gustin grave meme shared by Musk, which apparently shows Twitter burying Twitter.
But first thing first!
What triggered this new fear, and Musk's eventual meme? Let's have a look at all the latest that is happening at the company and on Musk's Twitter timeline.
'The Big Ultimatum'
On Wednesday, 16 November, Musk had given Twitter workers an ultimatum to either accept the company's new "hardcore" working environment, or resign.
Through an email, the Twitter boss had asked employees to formally state whether they wanted to continue working at the company, which would include "working long hours at high intensity," including early mornings, late nights and weekends.
The form included only one response: "Yes," and anyone who did not opt for the sole option would be fired with a three months severance package, Bloomberg reported.
The deadline fixed for workers to reply was Thursday evening (5 pm ET to be exact).
'No' Means 'No'
However, a large number of employees stood their ground, and refused to play to the tunes of the eccentric billionaire. Instead, they chose to leave, thereby casting a shadow over the operationality and continuity of the platform.
In fact, on a social media platform named Blind – where people can anonymously talk about their offices – a poll comprising around 250 people from Twitter showed that 73 percent of them preferred to avail the severance package over accepting Musk's terms.
There has been a cloud of confusion weighing over Twitter as well amid the mass exits. In an email, the company announced that it was closing their office buildings and disabling employee badge access until Monday.
Hence, there was no clarity on what company infrastructure, if any, employees could access amid the chaos.
Twitter's top management also asked its employees to "refrain from discussing confidential information on social media, with the press or elsewhere."
Musk's team is said to have spent a considerable amount of time scanning messages or tweets which criticised him and the company – which led to around two dozen workers getting fired on Tuesday, according to The New York Times.
Musk, who was expecting far more people to digest his bitter pill, apparently tried till the final hours before his deadline to convince people to stay.
Diluting his earlier vehement stance against remote working, he sent an email on Thursday with a mild tone. "All that is required for approval is that your manager takes responsibility for ensuring that you are making an excellent contribution," he wrote to employees who wanted to work from home.
However, no amount of damage control was enough, as employees were already fed up by the "anti-worker" and "hostile" environment.
Survival in Question
Twitter's internal communication channels were flooded with employees sending the "salute" emoticon, which has become symbolic for departure from the company.
So many people have availed the option to leave – a lot of them skilled professionals – that the functioning of the platform has come into question, particularly with regard to fixing technical issues and updating systems.
To soften the blow of mass exits, Musk brought in some engineers and other officials from his other companies, including Tesla. However, most of them have no idea how the product works, and will need time to bring themselves up to speed.
Sacked for What?
This comes nearly two weeks after Musk sacked 50 percent of Twitter's workforce – comprising around 3,700 employees.
In the aftermath of the mass layoffs, Musk is said to have publicly and privately fired dozens of workers, sometimes for the silliest of reasons.
One such employee, who was fired for purportedly criticising Musk on Slack, wrote, "After 12 amazing years and 3 weeks of chaos, I’m officially fired by Twitter. Never expected I would have stayed this long, and never expected I would be this relieved to be gone."
Another employee posted a screenshot of his termination email, along with the viral 'salute' emoji.
On 14 November, Musk had fired a worker publicly for disagreeing with him on the working speed of Twitter across the world.
In a tweet, Musk had said, "I’d like to apologize for Twitter being super slow in many countries. App is doing >1000 poorly batched RPCs just to render a home timeline!"
In response, a Twitter employee contradicted Musk, saying that what he was saying was "wrong" and that he had been working on this aspect of the website for the last six years.
After a brief back-and-forth about technical aspects about the site, what the employee got was the axe!
Democrats Call for Investigation
To top off Musk's long list of problems, a group of Democrats in the United States (US) Senate expressed concerns over the changes made to Twitter and urged the Federal Trade Commission – the country's antitrust regulator – to conduct checks on the company's consent decree and compliance with consumer privacy laws.
"In recent weeks, Twitter’s new Chief Executive Officer, Elon Musk, has taken alarming steps that have undermined the integrity and safety of the platform, and announced new features despite clear warnings those changes would be abused for fraud, scams, and dangerous impersonation."Letter by Democrat Senators
One of the signatories to the letter is Elizabeth Warren, who was a frontrunner among the Democrats in the 2020 presidential campaign.
The letter further added that in order to prioritise "increasing profits and "cutting costs," Twitter’s executives had "dismissed" key staff, "scaled back" internal privacy reviews, and "forced" engineers to take on legal liability for new changes.
#RIPTwitter Floods the Internet
Meanwhile, the internet has been having one field day after the other over the ongoing saga.
Ironically, Twitter itself was abuzz with posts about its own potential demise. The hashtag #RIPTwitter has become one of the most popularly used hashtags in recent days on the platform.
Musk himself took on a morbid avatar by posting a Grant Gustin-Oliver Queen's Grave meme,with a gravestone with the Twitter logo on it. Strangely, a person taking a picture next to the gravestone also had the Twitter logo superimposed on his face (Make of that what you will!)
On the other hand, several people poked fun at the man in charge.
While some cracked jokes over the embarrassing chain of events, others bade an emotional goodbye to a site that has been a part of their life and a means to express themselves publicly.
One such user posted a picture of the scene from Titanic, during which musicians play their instruments to pacify people aboard the ill-fated ship while it sinks.
(With inputs from Bloomberg and The New York Times.)