Mass layoffs at Twitter ravage comms team

Comms staffers have been using social media to thank their coworkers and say goodbye.

Twitter's office in New York City. (Photo credit: Getty Images).

SAN FRANCISCO: Twitter has started to lay off thousands of employees, and those job cuts have reached the company’s communications team. 

After the social media platform said in an internal memo on Thursday that employees would be notified of their employment status by 12 p.m. EST on Friday, comms staffers have announced their departures on social media. 

The layoffs are taking place a week after billionaire Elon Musk bought the company. Musk’s electric vehicle company, Tesla, eliminated its PR department in October 2020.

The New York Times reported that Twitter's communications department "was almost entirely laid off," while Bloomberg reporter Kurt Wagner tweeted that the PR team "is down to just two people after layoffs."

Here are some of the communications staffers at Twitter whose jobs were eliminated this week. (This story will be updated with new information). 

Brian Poliakoff, global head of corporate and customer comms
Poliakoff said on Twitter early Friday morning, “Grateful for lifelong Tweep friends & the world-class Twitter comms team.”

“A privilege to have helped tell our story & fight for us until the end. After 9 years on the always-on chaotic frontline, I’m ready for a break,” he added. 

Julie Steele, director and head of global internal comms
After four years at the company, Steele said on Friday morning that she is “leaving with the fullest [heart], experiences I never imagined and unbreakable bonds with so many Tweeps.”

Addressing her fellow comms teammates, Steele said, “We have so much to be proud of. Time to fly even higher!”

Michele Austin, director of public policy for U.S. and Canada 
Austin said she woke up to the news that her time at Twitter had come to an end. 

“I am heartbroken. I am in denial,” Austin said. “It’s been the best, craziest, most rewarding ride of my career. I have loved every single minute of it.” 

Austin added that she helped to lead Twitter’s work on the 2022 midterm elections, Canada’s 44th federal election and was responsible for social impact work in both countries. 

“I feel fortunate to have helped in small ways to make Twitter better over the last five years,” she tweeted.

Joseph Nuñez, global comms manager for product and consumer
“Today I received the dreaded notice that my role at Twitter has been impacted by the mass layoffs, as have most of my coworkers (in fact, half the company),” Nuñez said via LinkedIn

Nuñez reminisced on his time at Twitter and recognized his fellow employees’ efforts. 

“Tweeps are the most resilient, inclusive, smart, funny, open and sharp individuals I have ever experienced in any company,” Nuñez said. “And our Twitter communications team is no different - their strategic input, empathy, creativity, and willingness to show up at 100% every single day no matter what was deeply motivating.”

Jen Santamaria, comms lead and global co-chair of Twitter Parents
After six years at the social media platform, Santamaria tweeted on Friday morning that she has left the company. 

“Wishing the ‘new Twitter’ and everyone that remains all of the best but I’ll choose to remember the Twitter we all loved and built. The one that we all put our full hearts into,” Santamaria said. 

Santamaria added that, after the “most difficult” month of her life, she is “going to take a deep breath, focus on some self-care that’s been pushed to the side and enjoy my favorite job, being a mom.”

Viviana Wiewall, senior manager of global consumer comms
Wiewall, who joined Twitter a year and half ago, reflected on LinkedIn about her fellow Tweeps’ unity in recent months. 

“Most people would argue that I joined the company at the worst possible time but I strongly disagree,” Wiewall said. “I won’t deny that there were definitely tons of challenges and lots of uncertainty during these past couple of months, but it’s been incredibly inspiring to see how all of this brought Tweeps even closer together.”

On Monday, Wiewall revealed that she has joined Eventbrite as director of consumer PR. 

“Eventbrite has been connecting me to some of the best live experiences and events for as far as I can remember, and I’m beyond excited to share its story with global consumer audiences and contribute to its mission of bringing people together,” she said. 

Lauren Myers-Cavanagh, director of comms for Asia-Pacific
Myers-Cavanagh posted a series of tweets on Saturday about “why sunsetting the [Twitter comms] team is shortsighted.” 

“Comms delivered the goods direct[ly] to ppl on Twitter and those not sure they should be. From pop culture to sports to gaming to sci-fi to dogs, there was no community this group didn’t reach,” she said.

Gareth Field, EMEA comms
“I loved every single moment working on the global [Twitter comms] team, collaborating with and learning from an outstanding group of talented people,” Field said. 


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