As Musk Launches an Overhaul, Twitter Fires Half of its Employees
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 leave, employees all over the world used Twitter to express their anger or shock and bid farewell to one of Silicon Valley’s most recognizable enterprises.
“Woke up to the news that my time working at Twitter has come to an end. I am heartbroken. I am in denial,” Michele Austin, Twitter’s director of public policy for the US and Canada, declared.
Prior to the layoffs, Twitter restricted access to all of its locations and asked staff to remain at home while awaiting an email informing them of their destiny.
“That kind of treatment of people is quite inhumane. One fired employee who requested anonymity described the endeavor as “seeming like a mercenary effort, they’re trying to save money at all costs.”
The cull is a part of Musk’s effort to obtain financing for the massive $44 billion acquisition, for which he sold $15.5 billion worth of Tesla shares and took on billions of dollars in debt.
According to company sources, Musk’s teams were forcing a rapid pace on the remaining staff members and using Tesla coders to supervise the work of “Tweeps,” as employees at Twitter are known internally.
Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, is rumored to owe $1 billion in interest payments alone for a deal he attempted to back out of nearly immediately after he signed it in April.
After his massive purchase, Musk has been frantically looking for new revenue streams for Twitter, including the notion of charging users $8 per month for verified accounts.
The actions would help Twitter combat the possibility of losing advertisers, which are the company’s primary source of income, since many of the major businesses in the world postpone their ad purchases after learning of Musk’s well-known contempt for content controls.
The volatile businessman lamented a “huge loss in revenue” on Twitter on Friday, attributing it to “activist groups” who were pressing advertisers.
“We exerted every effort to placate the activists. Absolutely botched up! They want to stifle free expression in America,” he continued.
This seemed to be a reference to Musk’s previous meeting with civil rights organizations, where he heard worries that Twitter will unleash a wave of hate speech a week before the US midterm elections.
Musk had promised that Twitter would not turn into a “free-for-all hellscape” in an effort to calm people down, but his assurance was swiftly contradicted by a tweet spreading a rumor that the husband of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had been attacked.
“One of the most potent communication systems in the world is being destroyed in real time.” According to Nicole Gill, Executive Director of Accountable Tech, “Elon Musk is an unstable billionaire who is dangerously unqualified to lead this platform.”
She was a member of a group of 60 rights organizations that demanded on Friday that advertising on the Musk-owned platform be boycotted.
It would be “immoral, dangerous, and highly harmful to our democracy for any advertiser to finance a platform that fosters hate speech, election denialism, and conspiracy theories,” according to Derrick Johnson, head of the NAACP, a major civil rights organization.
He continued, “We call on firms to halt all advertising on Twitter until steps are taken to make this a secure platform.”
Data indicated that Twitter may have lost more than a million users since Elon Musk took aboard, a warning that things were not getting better.
Over 875,000 people may have cancelled their accounts between October 27 and November 1, according to estimates from Bot Sentinel, a company that monitors Twitter accounts, and another 500,000 may have had their accounts suspended.