On Monday evening, one such employee, Haraldur Thorleifsson, a prominent designer at the company, took to Twitter to complain that the company had yet to confirm that he’d been laid off, nine days after he was locked out of his work computer.
Twitter’s CEO responded by asking Haraldur what he did at Twitter. Musk even tweeted that he would approve Haraldur breaching confidentiality to share what he did.
But after Haraldur shared some of his responsibilities at Twitter, Musk responded with a clip from the movie “Office Space,” where two consultants challenge an employee with a question: “What would you say you do here?”
On Feb. 26, Haraldur was reported to be one of the 200 employees laid off by the social media company in late February. Haraldur, who joined Twitter in 2021, even posted a goodbye tweet the same day.
Yet, according to his tweets, Haraldur never got official confirmation that he was “no longer employed” at the company until after his Twitter conversation with Musk.
Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The social media company no longer has a communications department.
Haraldur joined Twitter in 2021 after selling his design agency Ueno to the social media company. The sale was presented as an “acqui-hire,” or when a company is bought for its talent, rather than other parts of its business operations.
According to Haraldur’s personal website, he led an “innovation team” at Twitter that helped to spearhead Twitter Communities as well as the service’s “edit button.”
Now, about that edit button @jack
— Halli (@iamharaldur) January 6, 2021
Haraldur offered more details of his work in his conversation with Musk on Monday, which included shifting “the company away from focusing on power users and on to younger users (because our user base is aging).”
Musk responded by casting doubt on Haraldur’s work, tweeting: “Pics or it didn’t happen.”
Other Twitter acquisitions have fared poorly after Musk bought the company. Twitter laid off Martijn de Kuijper, the founder of Revue, a newsletter service that Twitter acquired in 2021, as part of its job cuts on Feb. 26.
“Looks like I’m let go. Now my Revue journey is really over,” de Kujiper tweeted. Twitter shut down Revue last year.
Both Haraldur and de Kujiper were on a “do not fire” list, due to the expenses of laying them off, reported Platformer, a newsletter run by technology journalists Zoe Schiffer and Casey Newton. (On Monday, Haraldur asked on Twitter whether the company “will pay me what they owe me per my contract.”)
Continual layoffs may be taking a toll on Twitter, which has experienced frequent glitches in recent weeks.
On Monday, Twitter suffered another outage, as users complained that they were unable to share images or access links. Platformer reported that the outage was due to Twitter shutting down free access to the company’s API.
Platformer reports that just one site reliability engineer was put on the project, who made a “bad configuration change” that broke both Twitter’s platform and many of its internal tools, citing a current employee at the company.
“A small API change had massive ramifications. The code stack is extremely brittle for no good reasons,” Musk tweeted on Monday. “Will ultimately need a complete rewrite.”
Learn how to navigate and strengthen trust in your business with The Trust Factor, a weekly newsletter examining what leaders need to succeed. Sign up here.