LONDON (AFP) - Staff at collapsed British music retailer HMV hijacked the company's official Twitter account on Thursday to warn they were being sacked en masse.
The tweets were swiftly deleted but within minutes administrators Deloitte confirmed 190 redundancies had been made across HMV's head office and distribution network as a "necessary step in restructuring the business".
On the official @HMVtweets account, the outgoing staff in the human resources (HR) department began with a strangely upbeat message reading: "We're tweeting live from HR where we're all being fired! Exciting!!"
Further messages followed: "There are over 60 of us being fired at once! Mass execution, of loyal employees who love the brand.
"Sorry we've been quiet for so long. Under contract, we've been unable to say a word, or - more importantly - tell the truth."
HMV management began to take note as word spread across Twitter - #HMVtweets had more than 60,000 followers before it was hijacked - of what was happening.
"Just overheard our Marketing Director (he's staying, folks) ask "How do I shut down Twitter?" said the next message.
It went on to insist that "under usual circumstances, we'd never dare do such a thing as this. However, when the company you dearly love is being ruined... and those hard working individuals, who wanted to make hmv great again, have mostly been fired, there seemed no other choice."
HMV was Britain's last remaining high-street music and video retailer, but it called in the administrators this month after finally succumbing to heavy debts and unrelenting pressure from online rivals such as Amazon and iTunes.
Last week, US-based restructuring firm Hilco announced it had agreed to buy the retailer's considerable debt, effectively taking control of the company and its 4,350 employees.
Confirming the 190 redundancies in a statement, Deloitte joint administrator Nick Edwards said: "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."