Twitter sacks half of staff as Musk overhauls
Twitter on Friday sacked half of its 7,500-strong workforce as new boss Elon Musk began its major overhaul of the troubled company, just a week after its blockbuster acquisition.
An internal document seen by AFP said “nearly 50 percent” of employees were affected and would be denied access to the company’s computers and email on an immediate basis.
Workers around the world were shown the door and took to Twitter to express their dismay or disbelief and bid goodbye to one of Silicon Valley’s most iconic companies.
“Woke up to the news that my time working at Twitter is over. My heart is broken. I’m in denial,” said Michelle Austin, Twitter’s director of public policy for the United States and Canada.
“Regarding Twitter’s lack of force, unfortunately no choice when the company is losing more than $4M/day,” Musk tweeted in his first comment on the subject on Friday evening. Notified employees of upcoming layoffs 24 hours after email.
Before the layoffs, Twitter closed access to its offices around the world, asking employees to stay at home to await news of their fate via email.
“This is a very inhumane way of treating people. It sounds like a mercenary effort, they are trying to save money at all costs,” said one dismissed employee on condition of anonymity.
It’s part of Musk’s push to find ways to pay for the massive $44 billion deal, for which he took out billions of dollars in debt and sold $15.5 billion worth of shares in his electric car company Tesla.
Company sources said Musk’s teams were furious over the remaining employees, bringing in Tesla developers to oversee the work of “Tweeps,” an internal name for Twitter employees.
Tesla and SpaceX chief Musk is said to have paid $1 billion in annual interest alone to pay for the same deal as soon as he built it in April.
Musk has been scrambling to find new ways for Twitter to make money after its huge buyout, including the idea of charging users $8 a month for verified accounts.
The move would help offset the potential loss to advertisers, Twitter’s main source of revenue, after many of the world’s top brands halted their ad purchases, feared by Musk’s well-known disdain for content controls.
– ‘jumbled up!-
The merchant tycoon on Friday complained of a “huge drop in revenue” on Twitter that he accused “activist groups” of pressuring advertisers.
“We did everything possible to make the workers happy. Very fucked up! They are trying to destroy freedom of expression in America.”
It refers to Musk’s recent meeting with civil rights groups in which he heard concerns that Twitter would open a floodgate for hate speech a week before the midterm elections in the United States.
In an effort to calm the nerves, Musk vowed that Twitter would not become a “hellscape for everyone,” but he posted a tweet relaying a conspiracy theory about an attack on the husband of the US House of Representatives since taking over the company. also shared. Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
“We are witnessing the real-time destruction of one of the world’s most powerful communications systems. Elon Musk is a precarious billionaire who is dangerously unfit to run this platform,” said Nicole Gill, executive director of Accountable Tech .
She was part of a coalition of 60 rights groups calling for boycotts on Friday by advertisers for 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 promotes hate speech, election denial and conspiracy theories.” Is.”
“Unless action is taken to make this a safer place, we ask companies to stop all advertising on Twitter,” he said.
Twitter’s head of security and integrity, Joel Roth, tried to assuage concerns, saying that about 15 percent of his department were let go, compared to a company-wide 50 percent cut.
The site’s “core moderation capabilities remain in place,” he tweeted.
Although hugely influential with opinion makers and celebrities, the California company has long struggled to turn a profit and has failed to keep pace with Facebook, Instagram and TikTok in gaining new users.
In a sign that matters were not improving, data shows Twitter has lost more than a million users since Musk took office.
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 more than half a million were suspended.