Elon Musk gave Twitter employees an ultimatum: either accept new “tough” working conditions in the company, or quit. Many more employees have refused to sign up to the new terms than Musk expected, potentially jeopardizing Twitter’s operations, according to people familiar with the matter, writes Bloomberg.

So many employees decided to quit that it created confusion about which people should still have access to company property. Twitter closed its offices until Monday, according to a memo seen by Bloomberg.

“Please continue to comply with company policy by refraining from discussing confidential information on social media, with the press or elsewhere,” the memo said.

In the final hours before the ultimatum expired, Musk tried to convince employees to stay. he final hours before his deadline, to convince people to stay. Key staff were brought into meetings as the Thursday evening deadline neared to hear pitches on the social network’s future, according to people familiar with the matter. Musk, who had earlier said he was strictly against remote work, also sent a follow-up email Thursday softening his tone.

“All that is required for approval is that your manager takes responsibility for ensuring that you are making an excellent contribution,” he wrote, adding that employees should hold face-to-face meetings with their colleagues at least once a month.

This was not enough. Twitter’s internal communications channels were flooded with employees posting the salute emoji – 🫡, which has become a symbol of being fired from the company. Former employees also tweeted this greeting publicly along with their internal Slack messages.

Some of the employees who were laid off suggested that so many people were leaving with their knowledge of how the product worked that the social network might have trouble fixing problems or updating systems during its normal operations.

Twitter’s future is also complicated by a possible national security review of Musk’s deal by the U.S. government, people familiar with the matter said earlier.

Musk on Wednesday asked employees to formally declare that they are willing to continue working for the company — making a commitment that will include “working long hours at a high intensity.” Employees had until 5:00 p.m. ET on Thursday to fill out a Google form and agree to the new terms.

The form included only one possible answer option: “Yes”. Anyone who did not accept the form by the deadline was told they would be fired from the company with three months’ severance pay.