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Musk orders Twitter employees back to the office, citing ‘dire’ economic outlook

A man speaks into a microphone.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk addresses guests at a conference in Norway. The billionaire's $44 billion acquisition of Twitter has been scrutinized heavily for its hasty layoffs among other issues. | Photo by Carina Johansen/NTB/AFP via Getty Images | Source: Carina Johansen/NTB/AFP via Getty Images

Twitter employees have, after long last, received a message from above—and it’s not a good one. 

Elon Musk, the new owner of the SF-based social media company, sent his first official communication to the thousands of employees who were unceremoniously thrust into uncertainty after he purchased the company late last month, according to a report from The New York Times, which reviewed two of Musk’s emails.

And it was mostly bad news: “The economic picture ahead is dire,” Musk wrote, calling all employees back to the office to focus, first and foremost, on finding and suspending anyone using the social media’s verification tool to impersonate or spam others. 

That’s just the latest in bad news for the Twitter staff, about half of which were laid off last week amid sweeping changes for the company, some of which have already gone into effect.

One of the emails, The Times reported, mandates in-office work for 40 hours per week starting Thursday, a shift from the company’s previous work-from-anywhere policy. Until recently, Twitter’s Mid-Market headquarters had been largely empty since the pandemic triggered a shift to remote work. 

Several top employees working in the company’s privacy and security groups reportedly quit this week, including Chief Information Security officer Lea Kissner. Twitter didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. 

Twitter is among a slew of companies issuing mass layoffs and projecting a coming economic crisis that may hit the tech sector particularly hard. The latest is Meta, formerly known as Facebook, which announced on Wednesday it plans to lay off around 13% of its employees, following similar announcements from Salesforce, Stripe and Lyft earlier this month. 

The reason? Most cite over-hiring and the need to scale back in case of a shocking economic crash now that pandemic-related relief that was sustaining the economy through the last two years is ending or running dry.