Elon Musk has axed entire departments at Twitter in his exercise to deeply trim its workforce by half and human rights, accessibility, AI ethics and curation and communications teams were hit the hardest.
Former Twitter Human Rights Counsel Shannon Raj Singh tweeted that the company’s human rights team was axed on Friday.
The team worked to protect users facing human rights violations around the globe, including activists, journalists and people affected by conflicts like the war in Ukraine.
“Yesterday was my last day at Twitter: the entire Human Rights team has been cut from the company,” Singh posted.
“I am enormously proud of the work we did to implement the UN Guiding Principles on Business & Human Rights, to protect those at-risk in global conflicts & crises including Ethiopia, Afghanistan, and Ukraine,” he added.
The Accessibility Experience Team at Twitter is no longer.
“We had so much more to do, but we worked hard! There aren’t very many people that have had the opportunity to make such an important global platform like Twitter accessible, but we understood the mission,” said Gerard Cohen, former engineering manager, accessibility at Twitter.
In Twitter’s global communications team, the cuts were deep. In India, more that 50 per cent of the communications team was eliminated.
Julie Steele, former head of internal communications at Twitter, posted: “Twitter is so special. After 4 yrs, I’m leaving with the fullest experiences I never imagined, and unbreakable bonds with so many Tweeps. My head is held high, knowing I gave it my absolute all.”
Colette Zakarian, former communication at Twitter, posted: “It’s been an honour and a privilege to have served the internal (and sometimes public) conversation at Twitter. I have witnessed my team give their all — day in and day out — to put the people first”.
Musk dissolved a team known internally as META for its exploratory work in ethical AI and algorithmic transparency.
Rumman Chowdhury, the team’s director, was eliminated, along with the team’s engineers and other members.
Joan Deitchman, former senior engineering manager in the team, tweeted: “The team is gone. The team that was researching and pushing for algorithmic transparency and algorithmic choice. The team that was studying algorithmic amplification. The team that was inventing and building ethical AI tooling and methodologies. All that is gone”.