Elon Musk blames activists for revenue fall as he closes all Twitter offices and layoffs begin

Elon Musk has blamed activists for a "massive" drop in revenue on Twitter as employees find out whether they are being laid off - one week after his takeover.

The social network's offices are temporarily closed globally, and workers were told by email they would find out by 9pm PDT (4pm GMT on Friday) if they had been laid off.

Those who are losing their jobs will receive a message to their personal email address, while employees staying on will get an email to their work account.

Twitter employs around 8,000 workers in total and its UK staff are based in London and Manchester.

There is widespread speculation in US media that just shy of 4,000 positions will be axed.

An internal memo said: "In an effort to place Twitter on a healthy path, we will go through the difficult process of reducing our global workforce on Friday."

"We recognise that this will impact a number of individuals who have made valuable contributions to Twitter, but this action is unfortunately necessary to ensure the company's success moving forward," it said.

"If you are in an office or on your way to an office, please return home."

Twitter said all badge access would be suspended "to help ensure the safety of each employee as well as Twitter systems and customer data".

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On Friday, Musk blamed activists for falling revenue, tweeting: "Twitter has had a massive drop in revenue, due to activist groups pressuring advertisers, even though nothing has changed with content moderation and we did everything we could to appease the activists.

"Extremely messed up! They're trying to destroy free speech in America."

One Twitter user said revenues were falling because Twitter has "the worst ad platform of any social media company", to which Musk replied: "Agreed. Working on it."

Kim Dotcom, the disgraced internet entrepreneur who set up the 2000s file hosting and sharing service Megaupload.com, tweeted: "You really shouldn't need advertisers. 80% of your revenue should come from users. Call me."

A Twitter employee told NBC News the internal memo letting staff know there will be layoffs is the first communication staff have received since Musk acquired the company on 27 October.

"It's total chaos, house melting down, everyone looking towards this email," they said.

A British employee, Chris Younie, revealed he could not access his work email account, tweeting: "Well this isn't looking promising."

Staff were sharing messages of support with each other on Twitter, using the workplace hashtag #OneTeam - with one saying: "Just lost access to my Twitter email and Slack. This is so unreal."

Twitter is being sued over the layoffs.

A class-action lawsuit filed has been filed in a San Francisco court.

An unknown number of staff involved claim the company is in violation of federal and California law because employees have not been given enough notice.

Employment lawyer Emma Bartlett said in the UK, Twitter would be required by law to give employees notice and without notifying staff the government could "have criminal penalties associated with it"

The company moved to reassure staff last month that there were no plans for mass redundancies after it was reported that Musk wanted to make 75% of the workforce redundant after his $44bn (£38.4bn) takeover.

The Washington Post report said job cuts were inevitable, claiming there was a plan to slash Twitter's payroll by about $800m (£715m) by the end of next year.

Musk has ordered Twitter's teams to find up to $1bn (£895m) in annual infrastructure cost savings.

It has been a week since Musk walked into Twitter's San Francisco headquarters carrying a kitchen sink.

The notification of layoffs caps seven days of purges by the entrepreneur.

He has already fired the social media company's top leadership, which he accused of misleading him over the number of spam accounts on the platform.

Musk has also pledged to make getting rid of spam accounts one of his main priorities - but there's another mounting exodus that he perhaps did not intend.

Fears over the Tesla and SpaceX founder's potentially loose stance on content moderation has plenty of genuine users considering quitting the platform, including some celebrities.

He has also revealed plans to move Twitter's verification badges behind a paid subscription, charging $8 a month as part of a Twitter Blue membership.

Musk, who had updated his Twitter bio to "Chief Twit" - and since changed it to 'Twitter Complaint Hotline Operator' - has said he did not buy the company to make more money but "to try to help humanity, whom I love".