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Musk, Twitter’s new owner, gave employees a Thursday deadline to decide whether to leave or stay “in order to build groundbreaking Twitter 2.0.”

FILE – The Twitter logo hangs outside the company’s offices in San Francisco on Tuesday, November 1, 2022. AP Photo/Noah Berger, file

Hours before Thursday’s deadline Elon Musk gave Twitter employees to decide whether to stay or leave their jobs, the social media company appeared to be in disarray.

Musk and his advisers held meetings with some Twitter employees they deemed “critical” to keep them from leaving, four people familiar with the conversations said. According to those individuals and internal emails reviewed by The New York Times, he was sending confusing messages about the company’s remote working policy, which seemed to soften his stance on not allowing people to work from home before alerting their superiors.

All the while, two people said, resignations started pouring in. Ahead of the deadline, which is 5 p.m. EST, hundreds of Twitter employees have opted to leave with three months of severance pay, people said. Twitter later announced via email that it would close “our office buildings” and disable access to employee badges until Monday.

Their departures have added to the turmoil on Twitter since the 51-year-old Musk completed a $44 billion acquisition last month. The billionaire has laid off half of Twitter’s 7,500 full-time employees, laid off dissidents and told employees they had to be “extremely tough” for the company to succeed.

On Wednesday, Musk gave the rest of Twitter staff just under 36 hours to quit or commit to building “a groundbreaking Twitter 2.0.” He presented the move as a way to make the company as competitive as possible, although the action also provided an opportunity to cut costs further and clean the company of disgruntled employees.

The firing of so many employees in such a compressed period has raised questions about how Twitter will continue to operate effectively. While Musk has brought in several engineers and executives from other of his companies, such as electric car maker Tesla, many of them are just beginning to get acquainted with how the social networking site works, five people said.

On Thursday, seven Democratic senators called on the Federal Trade Commission to investigate whether the company had violated its consumer privacy agreement with the agency since Musk took power. The letter comes after Twitter’s security chiefs resigned last week after Musk changed some of the company’s data security practices.

An FTC spokesman declined to comment. Musk said he plans to abide by the privacy agreement.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

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