Twitter Sacks “Roughly 50 Percent” Of Staff As Elon Musk Launches Overhaul. On Friday, Twitter laid off half of its 7,500-person workforce as the company’s troubled big restructuring under new owner Elon Musk got under way, only one week after his sensational takeover.
According to an internal memo seen by AFP, “approximately 50%” of the workforce was affected and would immediately lose access to business computers and email.
After being told to go, employees all over the world took to Twitter to express their anger or bewilderment and bid farewell to one of Silicon Valley’s most recognizable enterprises.
“I discovered when I woke up that my employment with Twitter had ended. I’m devastated. I am denying it “said Michele Austin, Twitter’s public policy director for the United States and Canada.
Twitter Sacks “Roughly 50 Percent” Of Staff As Elon Musk Launches Overhaul. Ahead of the layoffs, Twitter closed access to its offices worldwide, asking employees to stay at home to await news of their fate through an email.
“It’s a pretty inhumane way to treat people. It seems like a mercenary effort, they’re trying to save money at all cost,” said one dismissed employee who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
The cull is part of Elon Musk’s push to find ways to pay for the mammoth $44 billion deal for which he took on billions of dollars in debt and sold $15.5 billion worth of Tesla shares, his electric car company.
Company sources said that Elon Musk’s teams were imposing a furious pace on the remaining employees, bringing in Tesla developers to oversee the work of “Tweeps,” the inhouse name for Twitter workers.
Mr Musk, the Tesla and SpaceX chief, is said to owe $1 billion in annual interest alone to pay for a deal he tried to wiggle out from almost as soon as he made it in April.
Elon Musk has been scrambling to find new ways for Twitter to make money after his mammoth buyout, including an idea to charge users $8 a month for verified accounts.
The moves would help overcome the potential loss of advertisers, Twitter’s main source of revenue, with many of the world’s top brands putting their ad buys on hold, spooked by Elon Musk’s well-known disdain for content controls.
The mercurial tycoon on Friday complained on Twitter of a “massive drop in revenue” that he blamed on “activist groups” that were pressuring advertisers.
“We did everything we could to appease the activists. Extremely messed up! They’re trying to destroy free speech in America,” he added.
This appeared to refer to Mr Musk’s recent meeting with civil rights groups in which he heard concerns that Twitter would open the floodgates to hate speech a week before midterm election in the United States.
In an effort to soothe nerves, Elon Musk had vowed that Twitter will not become a “free-for-all hellscape,” but his pledge was quickly followed by a tweet relaying a conspiracy theory about an assault on the husband of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
“We are witnessing the real time destruction of one of the world’s most powerful communication systems. Elon Musk is an erratic billionaire who is dangerously unqualified to run this platform,” said Nicole Gill, Executive Director of Accountable Tech.
She was part of a coalition of 60 rights groups calling on Friday for a boycott by advertisers of the Musk-owned platform.
Derrick Johnson, president of the NAACP, a leading civil rights organization, said it would be “immoral, dangerous, and highly destructive to our democracy for any advertiser to fund a platform that fuels hate speech, election denialism and conspiracy theories.”
“Until actions are taken to make this a safe space, we call on companies to pause all advertising on Twitter,” he added.
Though extremely influential with opinion-makers and celebrities, the California company has long struggled to generate profit and has failed to keep pace with Facebook, Instagram and TikTok in gaining new users.
In the sign that matters were not improving, data showed Twitter may have lost more than a million users since Elon Musk took over.
Estimates from Bot Sentinel, a firm that tracks Twitter accounts, suggested that more than 875,000 users deactivated their accounts between October 27 and November 1, while half a million more were suspended.