Twitter’s Human Rights Lawyer Says Elon Musk Axed the Entire Human Rights Team

Twitter’s now-former human rights lawyer said that as part of the drastic job cuts order by Elon Musk, the company has shut down the entire Human Rights department and laid off the team.

“Yesterday was my last day at Twitter: the entire Human Rights team has been cut from the company,” Shannon Raj Singh said.

“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, and to defend the needs of those particularly at risk of human rights abuse by virtue of their social media presence, such as journalists & human rights defenders,” she added.

After Twitter began its massive layoffs Thursday evening, laid off employees painted a picture of deep cuts to crucial parts of the company, including content moderation, while also reflecting on their time there with the hashtag #LoveWhereYouWorked.

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“Looks like I’m unemployed y’all. Just got remotely logged out of my work laptop and removed from Slack,” tweeted Simon Balmain, Twitter’s former Senior Community Manager, Thursday evening. “#OneTeam forever. Loved you all so much. So sad it had to end this way.”

Employees should have known if they were impacted by the layoffs, which were expected to affect 50% of employees, by 9 a.m. PT Friday, according to an internal email obtained by Reuters. Despite the formal email notification, many staffers were clued into their impending layoffs when they were logged out of their work computer, work email and Slack account throughout Thursday evening into the late night.

“Well this isn’t looking promising. Can’t log into emails. Mac wont turn on,” tweeted Chris Younie, who worked in entertainment partnerships for Twitter. “But so grateful this is happening at 3am. Really appreciate the thoughtfulness on the timing front guys.”

“That email could have been a meeting,” another former employee wrote of the abrupt notification.

Rumman Chowdhury, who also got logged out of their work email account before receiving a formal notification, pointed out the #LoveWhereYouWorked as a “bittersweet phrase – not because I’m gone, but because it’s gone.”

Similarly, Joan Deitchman, the former Senior Engineering Manager expressed her disappointment that the entirety of the Ethics, Transparency, and Accountability team had been laid off — a team that did “critical work.” “The team that was researching and pushing for algorithmic transparency and algorithmic choice,” Deitchman tweeted. “The team that was studying algorithmic amplification. The team that was inventing and building ethical AI tooling and methodologies. All that is gone.”

Despite feelings of dismay, many employees expressed their gratitude for their teams and the workplace they loved. “Love y’all and thank you for the honor of a lifetime,” one former staffer wrote while another said, “It has been a pleasure to work with all of you.”

On the other hand, an employee who did not get laid off seconded a message from a friend that said, “I didn’t get laid off. I feel like vomiting though.” “I stayed up last night watching hard-working, talented, caring people get logged out one by one and I don’t know what to say,” Eli Schutze tweeted. “Tweeps, you are remarkable.”