Elon Musk to lay off half the staff at Twitter, trim workforce to 3,700

Various companies reportedly suspended advertising on Twitter following Musk's acquisition.
Ameya Paleja
Elon Musk
Elon Musk

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If last Thursday was Elon Musk's first day at the Twitter office, this Thursday might have been the last for nearly 50 percent of the staff at the social media company. After much speculation, Elon Musk-led Twitter is finally bringing down the axe on its workforce to reduce its expenses and make the company profitable, The Guardian reported.

Even before Musk was about to acquire Twitter after months of wrangling and initial proceedings of a lawsuit, speculation was rife that he would cut as much as 75 percent of the workforce. Twitter's headcount that exceeded 7,000 as per recent regulatory filings would be trimmed down to barely 2,000; Interesting Engineering had previously reported.

Now, just a week at the helm, Musk and his team of lieutenants seemed to have made up their minds about whom to retain and whom to fire and send out an email to all employees that the decision would be made on Friday.

How will Twitter employees know their fate?

Twitter's top brass knew what was coming for them the moment Musk agreed to buy out the company at his original offer price. The rest of the employees need to wait for an email to know their fate, though.

As per internal emails accessed by The New York Times and The Washington Post, those retaining their jobs are scheduled to get an email on their Twitter email account, while those fired will get an email on their personal account with the subject title: Your Role at Twitter.

The social media company has also decided to keep all offices close and suspended badge access in the interest of the safety of its employees, systems, and customer data, the letter added.

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According to Gizmodo, the severance payable to the employees being fired still needs to be figured out, and Californian law requires 60 days of notice to be given for significant headcount reduction. We will need to wait and see if this snowballs into another issue.

Is Elon Musk in charge at Twitter?

It was much anticipated that Musk's arrival would bring changes to Twitter, and much has happened in the past week. From the imminent launch of a new subscription plan for verified accounts to a reboot of the short video-sharing service, Vine, Musk is throwing everything to make Twitter tick.

As Interesting Engineering reported yesterday, Musk's acquisition using a $13 billion loan means Twitter has an annual interest payout of over a billion dollars now, and Musk needs to figure out ways to make these payments.

Musk's stance as a free speech absolutist has already put many advertisers on the fence, with even big brands pausing their advertisements till the situation is cleared. As providers of 90 percent of revenue to the company, advertisers are in the driving seat, and Musk can't dismiss them. He is, therefore, now taking more measured calls on what Twitter's content moderation policy will be like.

With a smaller workforce for content moderation, hate speech and fake news are expected to blow up on the social media site in the coming weeks, and advertisers do not want their brands to be listed alongside such content.

Musk may be in complete control of whom to retain and who not to at Twitter, but he doesn't yet hold all the strings to control the company.

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