The Twitterverse is abuzz with speculation about the social media platform’s uncertain future, with the hashtag #RIPTwitter trending on Friday amid an exodus of employees.
Twitter users shared memes related to looking for a new social media service or returning to decades-old chat rooms to keep connecting with people online.
Others chose to skewer new Twitter owner Elon Musk, imagining the billionaire at Twitter headquarters, oblivious as the company burns.
The furor in turn reflected the mounting chaos at Twitter since Musk took control of the company late last month, with reports that employees were locked out of its offices on Friday for unspecified reasons. The buildings are expected to remain shuttered all weekend.
Since Musk took over the platform, employee numbers have plummeted as the Tesla CEO first laid off some 3,700 workers, then fired engineers who disagreed with him and then issued an ultimatum that remaining Twitter workers should be ready for an “extremely hard core” workload or else tender their resignation.
By Thursday night, the deadline for workers to stay or go, hundreds had turned in their resignation, leaving the company in “disarray,” the New York Times reported.
“It’s extremely chaotic and the morale is extremely low,” Melissa Ingle, a content moderator who was recently laid off, told CBS News’ John Dickerson.
Shortly after the deadline, a self-described activist digitally projected statements criticizing Musk onto the side of Twitter’s San Francisco offices.
“Musk’s hellscape,” read one statement. “Launching to bankruptcy,” said another.
Among the projections was a scrolling line of insults directed at the executive. “Elon Musk: bankruptcy baby, supreme parasite, petulant pimple,” the tirade began.
Some observers asked whether hysteria among Twitter users really indicated the site was shutting down, or whether it is a case of anti-Musk tweeters being dramatic.
Venture capitalist Bill Gurley was one of many to suggest that the site could essentially run on its own. People who are “rooting for Twitter to ‘functionally fail’ are going to be disappointed,” he said, noting that the company had only 1,000 employees a decade ago and has much better systems now.
Through it all, Musk has continued to tweet jokes about the apparent meltdown.
“Record numbers of users are logging in to see if Twitter is dead, ironically making it more alive than ever!” he said Thursday.
He also cracked wise about the billions of dollars he spent to buy the company.
“How do you make a small fortune in social media? Start out with a large one,” he wrote.