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LOS ANGELES — On Thursday, hundreds of Twitter employees left the company, further depleting a workforce needed to maintain the integrity of the site and its content-moderation system. This follows Musk’s layoffs of half the Twitter staff, and a series of high-profile departures from key Twitter trust and safety; security; privacy; and compliance personnel. 

Musk had given Twitter's employees until 5 p.m. ET, Thursday, to decide whether they wanted to commit to his employment terms, which included a call to be “extremely hardcore” and work very long hours. Refusing to do so would effectively signal resignation, according to an email Musk sent to staff Wednesday. Upon seeing that few had accepted his terms by Thursday afternoon, Twitter decided to close company offices through Mon., Nov. 21.

Free Press is a founding member of the #StopToxicTwitter campaign, which includes more than 65 civil-rights, digital-justice and pro-democracy groups that have come together to pressure Twitter advertisers to pull their ads from the platform until Musk makes firm commitments to protect brand and user safety. Dozens of advertisers have already paused their Twitter ads, with more to come.

Free Press Co-CEO Jessica J. González made the following statement:

“Elon Musk has swiftly decimated Twitter’s ability to maintain the platform’s integrity, health and safety. His reckless actions, including sacking most of his staff and compelling others to leave, have caused an explosion of hate speech, conspiracy theories and fraud on the site. The #StopToxicTwitter campaign has said it early and often, and I even met with Musk to emphasize the point: Undermining community standards and moderation is a recipe for disaster. If there is one lesson that all social-media platforms must take away from this debacle, it’s that without protecting users from hate and lies you have no company at all. Invest in the health and integrity of your platforms or risk extinction.

“Millions of people around the world rely on Twitter to challenge oppressive regimes, shed light on abuse and organize for justice. Minority groups that traditional media gatekeepers have kept from mainstream audiences have used Twitter to organize for a better world. That’s why we’ll continue to fight for a better Twitter, even as we aspire toward a non-exploitative platform that puts the public good over the hate-and-lie-for-profit model that animates every major social-media company.”

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