Scores and live tweets could “disappear” after mass layoffs at Twitter, which will impact user experience, staffers have warned
There were no meetings and no apologies for the staff Elon Musk is working on today by firing Twitter. Many of them have not been officially informed that their roles on Twitter are no longer needed. Instead they have it concluded, being kicked out of communication tools in the workplace, with their Changed work email passwordsor her Laptop locked away.
The layoffs – which are reportedly expected to affect about half of Twitter’s 7,500 employees – are callous. But they are also worrying.
Mr Musk’s austerity measures are said to be trimming the fat around a company he says has been too carelessly run for years. He has eliminated Twitter employees’ monthly day off to rest and recover, a measure introduced amid the pandemic. He has instructed those who remain to find up to $3million (£2.68million) a day in savings on tech infrastructure – the servers and computers that keep Twitter under the weight of its 238million monetizable daily keep users online.
This means, first and foremost, that Twitter could become less reliable online. The “Fail Whale,” a cartoon depiction of a whale that would emerge when Twitter’s technology servers went down in the early days of interest in the site, could soon be a more common sight if Musk decides to keep Twitter’s technology running more efficiently .
“This is a deep dip,” says Alan Woodward, professor of cybersecurity at the University of Surrey.
“Not only could it risk resiliency, but also load management during times when people typically turn to Twitter — such as during emergencies.” Professor Woodward points out that hardware requirements are configured and refined over years.
“Unless they’ve done a massive overhaul of the current system, the risk of lower capacity and availability seems like a logical conclusion,” he says. “It’s difficult not to conclude that Mr. Musk is trying to recover his money, and Twitter user experience may be the ultimate prize.”
When the site and app are online, things will also be different after Mr Musk made drastic staff cuts to keep the site up and running.
“Despite all the talk about algorithms and automation, a lot of the usefulness of Twitter was that people were experts on interests and the platform and wanted others to enjoy it,” says a former Twitter employee who asked, unnamed to become sensitivity of the situation.
“I don’t think people realize how many things they like about Twitter are going to be gone now,” the staffer says. Twitter’s curation team, which presented users with information about the world through its ubiquitous sidebar, was completely dissolved, according to one of its leading members. Another warned in a public post shortly after his firing that “Twitter is about to lose all of its content moderation, infrastructure support and half of its workforce.”
The company already has Approved that only 15 people have access to content moderation tools that allow them to take action against posts that violate the platform’s rules, out of hundreds.
It’s not just the big, overarching things, it’s the small things too. The leader of the team that was the voice of @Twitter, the voice of the social media platform on their own website, was fireda long with his team.
Twitter could evolve from a place people come to as a source of news to a place that appears to be largely unmoderated free-for-all, where information is not sifted through and users are expected to find what they want for themselves to need. They are expected to do so while swimming in a morass of harmful content.
“Even small things like finding your team’s score or watching live tweets about a new TV season premiere” will go away, warns the former Twitter contributor.
“That element of Twitter as a content search engine feels almost dead, and you’re most likely going to see a lot of bad trends that people used to remove or nicely summarize for you.”
Robbed of the need to be diplomatic about their new boss, employees warn of what Twitter could soon become. “As chaotic as Twitter was before Elon, it’s now a veritable clown town of politics and freeloading and psychological abuse.” one warned publicly via her Twitter account.
And of course, it comes just days before Musk plans to roll out a requirement for users to pay $8 a month to access a revamped version of Twitter Blue that would blue tick people – previously indicating, that an account has been verified to be who they say they are. Some fear that changing verification on Twitter from a free but deserved opportunity to something anyone can buy will result in malicious actors using it to trick users into submitting to scam attempts.
Musk reportedly planned to roll out the paid verification change on Monday, despite being a member of Twitter Blue Team tweeted overnight that “he fired the team working on it”.
A wild ride is imminent – and we are only at the beginning.