A disgruntled worker at British music retailer HMV has let loose on the company's Twitter feed Thursday, comparing the latest round of layoffs to a ‘mass execution’.
The troubled music store chain was preparing to announce some 190 layoffs as part of a nation-wide response to falling revenues but the exercise quickly became a public relations disaster.
The rogue messages — which immediately attracted the attention of the media — started with the declaration, "we're tweeting live from HR where we're all being fired! Exciting!!"
"There are over 60 of us being fired at once! Mass execution, of loyal employees who love the brand," another message said.
The hijacker’s identity wasn't clear but the Twitter messages came from the company's verified account, suggesting an employee was responsible.
HMV, Britain's last big music retailer, entered a form of bankruptcy protection earlier this year putting 4,000 jobs at risk in 223 stores. The company had been steadily losing business to Internet music downloads.
In an attempt to show just how out-of-touch HMV management had become, one tweet stated: "Just overheard our Marketing Director (he's staying, folks) ask `How do I shut down Twitter?'"
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In a statement, Deloitte, HMV's administrator, said that there had been 190 layoffs, most of them at the company's head office.
"Although such decisions are always difficult, it is a necessary step in restructuring the business to enhance the prospects of securing its future as a going concern," Deloitte's Nick Edwards said in a statement.
It appears that someone eventually took control of the company’s Twitter account with the offending messages — including one which said "what have we to lose? It's been a pleasure folks!" — deleted about an hour after they were first sent out.