Elon Musk's first day owning Twitter leads to havoc and a possible hoax about layoffs

Twitter headquarters in San Francisco.
Adam Jeffery | CNBC

[Editor's note: After CNBC published details of an interview with people who claimed to be fired employees of Twitter, several reports emerged suggesting it was a hoax. CNBC could not confirm the identities of the individuals.]

On Elon Musk's first day in control of Twitter, a person who walked out of the company's San Francisco headquarters and identified themselves as a data engineer there said they were just laid off. CNBC was not able to immediately verify the identity of that person and one other who made a similar claim.

Twitter is now Elon Musk's company — Here's how experts responded to the news
Twitter is now Elon Musk's company — Here's how experts responded to the news

One employee at Twitter, awaiting information about layoffs or projects, told CNBC they were in the dark for the most part. Musk was meeting with relatively low-ranking engineering managers, this person noted —a welcome gesture to some. Press reports before the deal closed said that Musk had planned cuts as deep as 75% of headcount.

Twitter did not respond to repeated requests for comment about layoffs.

Musk finally took over the company on Thursday, ending a months-long legal saga. The billionaire Tesla and SpaceX CEO initially agreed to buy the company for $44 billion, but soon after tried to get out of the deal because he claimed Twitter was not forthcoming enough about spam accounts on the platform. Twitter has denied that and went to court to try to get Musk to complete the deal.

Prior to the original trial date earlier this month, Musk agreed once again to close the deal. The judge gave Musk until Friday at 5 p.m. to close the deal, or else set a new trial date.

On Thursday, several top executives departed the company, including CEO Parag Agrawal and CFO Ned Segal, CNBC's David Faber reported. Twitter's head of legal policy, trust and safety Vijaya Gadde was also fired.

-CNBC's Lora Kolodny contributed to this report.