ELON Musk abruptly fired nearly half of Twitter’s workforce on Friday, in an effort to cut costs. Musk bought the social media giant in October for $44bn, and quickly revealed sweeping changes to the platform.
Musk said the company was losing over $4m (£3.5m) per day and had “no choice” but to reduce costs.
Regarding Twitter’s reduction in force, unfortunately there is no choice when the company is losing over $4M/day.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 4, 2022
Everyone exited was offered 3 months of severance, which is 50% more than legally required.
There are fears that these redundancies could impact how effective Twitter is at moderating harmful content on the site. Major civil-rights organisations, including the NAACP, have called for a total advertising boycott. The use of racial slurs and the spread of conspiracy theories have spiked since the takeover. Musk revealed that the company has experienced a “massive drop in [advertising] revenue,” blaming “activist groups pressuring advertisers.”
Many top executives, including ex-CEO Parag Agrawal, departed the company once the takeover was complete, leaving the board of directors empty. Musk currently has sole control of the company’s management.
Employees were unhappy with how the layoffs were handled after their access to internal Twitter systems was suspended as much as 24 hours before the formal announcement was made. Twitter clarified that this was, in part, to protect the company’s sensitive data, and suspension of work accounts did not necessarily mean an employee would be laid-off.
A class-action lawsuit has been filed against Musk in San Francisco on the behalf of five ex-Twitter employees, who say they were not given 60-days notice of mass redundancy, a requirement under US Federal Law.
However, since the layoffs were announced, it’s been reported that Twitter has been contacting dozens of employees asking them to return to the company. Therefore admitting they were either fired by mistake, or that their work would be necessary to implement Musk’s new features. It’s not clear if any of the employees contacted complied with such a request. Twitter didn’t reply to our request for a comment on these reports.
A spate of verified accounts has been changing their names and profile photos to imitate Musk’s official account, sparking widespread confusion over the ownership of such accounts. Musk announced that all accounts imitating someone else, without declaring they’re a parody, would be permanently suspended. This is the latest knee-jerk action Musk has made in the last week.