Former Twitter employees sitting on abandoned company laptops: report

Some ex-employees are worried the laptops will impact their severance -- others say Musk can wait

Several former Twitter employees are sitting on valuable hardware, like company laptops, that Twitter has seemingly abandoned.

As detailed by Wired, while Twitter’s new owner Elon Musk scrambles to make the company profitable to pay back some $13 billion USD (roughly $17.35 billion CAD) owed to lenders for financing his takeover, some more obvious ways to make a quick buck appear abandoned. Namely, after Musk rapidly laid off significant chunks of Twitter staff, the company has put little effort into collecting company hardware.

One software engineer fired in November told Wired that he hadn’t heard anything about returning a company-issued Apple MacBook Pro with an M1 Pro chip. The laptop was sitting in the engineer’s closet, digitally locked by Twitter after the engineer was fired. Wired notes that refurbished versions of the laptop can fetch around $1,000 (about $1,334.49 CAD). While the M1 Pro variant is no longer listed on Apple’s website, the base-level MacBook Pro with M2 Pro chip retails for $2,599 in Canada.

While some of the ex-Twitter employees are content to let their useless hardware sit in a closet, others are worried it could cause problems down the line. For example, some former employees who spoke with Wired were still owed severance and were worried having the laptops could lead to delays in their compensation or even legal problems. In chat groups of former employees, some discussed trying to crack their laptop’s lock code or wiping and resetting the device.

Meanwhile, some former employees were able to send their devices back, while others got generic emails from the company asking them to fill out a ‘Twitter Device Collection Survey.’ Wired says most of the employees it spoke with hadn’t received the email.

Wired obtained a copy of the survey, which mentions authentication tokens, corporate credit cards, company-issued smartphones and laptop chargers as items that can be returned. The form also noted that monitors, keyboards, mice, display cables and stands don’t need to be collected. It doesn’t clarify what former employees should do with laptops.

The survey also asks for an address to send a shipping box for ex-Twitter people to load up with returnable equipment, noting the box would arrive within 30 days of filling it out. There’s an option for dropping equipment off at some of Twitter’s offices.

However, Wired says that, generally, ex-employees aren’t rushing to return the equipment, with one telling the publication that “Elon can wait.”

Image credit: Shutterstock

Source: Wired