The majority of Twitter’s 200 odd employees in India were fired as part of Elon Musk’s decision to lay off half of the company’s workforce globally, in an effort to cut down costs. Nearly all business verticals have been affected, and except for retaining a skeletal staff in sales, Twitter has laid off entire teams in marketing, communications and partnerships in its India office.

This is in congruence with statements from multiple former Twitter employees from across the globe on social media, stating that they have been laid off, locked out of slack and internal email accounts as part of the furloughs that took place worldwide.

It was a tense day for Twitter employees on Friday, after an internal email informed the staff that they will receive an email on Friday morning communicating that they have been relieved from work. “All offices will be temporarily closed and badge access suspended, and any employees at an office were asked to return home,” said the internal memo.

A Twitter employee in India told businessline,“Everybody saw it coming. All of us know how the man functions and we knew we would be impacted when Elon Musk took over. None of us were surprised.” Almost all the 200 odd Twitter India employees spread across its three offices in Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru would have been fired in the mass layoff, the employee reckons.

It is presently unclear whether Twitter India has given severance pay to the employees that have been laid off, although globally there are reports that some staff have received a severance pay.

Managing India operations with a skeletal staff could raise additional concerns on the regulatory front. Twitter has been battling a case at the Karnataka High Court, opposing the goverment’s orders to block certain Twitter accounts. It is presently unclear, whether Twitter has retained its public policy team, although a 25-year old staffer in the policy team was laid off as well. “If accurate (news of layoffs), this is concerning as it will severely impact the organisation’s capability to maintain its current course/respond to regulatory changes, which adds even more uncertainty and unpredictability to India’s public sphere at a time when regulatory interventions such as the recently notified amendments to the 2021 IT Rules are seeking to exert more control on speech through instruments like the GAC,” said Prateek Waghre, Policy Director at Internet Freedom Foundation.

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While some employees in the United States have filed a lawsuit challenging the layoff, others were grateful to escape “a potentially toxic work environment under Musk”.

A Twitter India employee said working for the social media company was a dream. “It was all about people, communities and we are a very strong community. I have absolutely loved my time here. There is a tremendous outpouring of support for us,” she said.

Sacked Twitter employees are wearing their layoff like a badge of honour, and bonding over it. “I will chill for a few weeks and then start looking for a job,” she said, not sounding too worried.

(With inputs from Chitra Narayanan)

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