Elon Musk to start laying off Twitter staff today

The billionaire plans to eliminate half of the platform's workforce

Twitter headquarters in San Francisco. The social media company plans to shut access to its offices ahead of planned layoffs on Friday. AFP
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Twitter plans to start cutting staff on Friday, the company said in an email to employees.

Billionaire Elon Musk plans to eliminate half of social media company's workforce, making good on plans to slash costs at the platform he acquired for $44 billion last month, sources have said.

“In an effort to place Twitter on a healthy path, we will go through the difficult process of reducing our global workforce on Friday,” Twitter management said in an email reviewed by Bloomberg.

“We recognise that this will impact a number of individuals who have made valuable contributions to Twitter, but this action is unfortunately necessary to ensure the company’s success going forward.”

The company will inform affected staffers on Friday at 9am San Francisco time (8pm UAE), according to the memo.

Amid the layoffs, Twitter plans to temporarily close offices and suspend badge access “to help ensure the safety of each employee, as well as Twitter systems and customer data”, the memo said.

All told, Mr Musk wants to cut about 3,700 jobs, sources said this week. The entrepreneur began to drop hints about his staffing priorities before the deal was closed, saying he wanted to focus on the core product.

“Software engineering, server operations & design will rule the roost,” he tweeted in early October.

Security staff at Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters carried out preparations for the layoffs while an internal directory used to look up colleagues was taken offline on Thursday afternoon, sources said.

Employees have been bracing for the firings for weeks. In recent days, they raced to connect via LinkedIn and other non-Twitter avenues, offering each other advice on how to weather losing one’s job, the sources said.

Former Twitter engineers are also using social media to respond to former “Tweeps” looking to land jobs elsewhere.

Mr Musk has also been huddling with advisers to come up with new ways to make money from the blogging platform, including charging for verifications, which can help delineate real users from fake accounts.

He is also considering reviving a long-since-discontinued short-video tool called Vine, a way to vie with popular video-sharing apps such as TikTok.

Another product under consideration, the New York Times reported, is paid direct messages, which would let the rank and file send private messages to high-profile users.

Meanwhile, several advertisers have tapped the brakes on placing advertisements on the platform until they have a clearer idea of Mr Musk’s plans.

The new owner has said he wants to remove some content moderation, giving rise to concerns that hate speech, misinformation and other potentially harmful material will flourish even more freely.

General Mills said it was temporarily pausing advertising on Twitter, joining Volkswagen's Audi and General Motors in rethinking their presence on the platform.

Updated: November 04, 2022, 8:20 AM