Elon Musk refusing to pay Twitter travel expenses, report says

The world's richest person has moved quickly to slash costs at the social media platform

Elon Musk is reportedly overseeing drastic cost cuts at Twitter. Reuters
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Elon Musk's cost-cutting at Twitter has extended to refusing to pay travel expenses incurred by company executives, according to a report by the New York Times.

Mr Musk, the world's richest person, has been slashing costs at the social media company since he acquired it for $44 billion at the end of last month, and said that it was losing $4 million a day.

Having fired more than 3,000 staff, he is now refusing to pay travel vendors for the bills, which he said were authorised by the company's former management and not him, and his staff are subsequently avoiding calls from the vendors, the Times reported.

Twitter employees have been instructed to renegotiate technology service deals with the companies such as Amazon and Oracle, while corporate credit cards have been shut off, the report said.

Employee benefits that have been trimmed include subsidised gym passes, phone and internet bills and childcare stipends.

Mr Musk also became embroiled in an online disagreement over free lunches for staff at Twitter.

He tweeted that “almost no one came to the office” and the “estimated cost per lunch served in the past 12 months is more than $400".

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Former Twitter employee Tracy Hawkins, who tweeted that she had resigned from the company, said that $20 to $25 for breakfast and lunch a day per person was spent.

She said this enabled employees to work through lunch and meetings, and attendance was 20 per cent to 50 per cent in the company's offices.

Mr Musk fired back, saying that Twitter spent $13m a year on food service for its San Francisco headquarters.

“There are more people preparing breakfast than eating breakfast,” he tweeted. “They don’t even bother serving dinner, because there is no one in the building.”

In his first address to Twitter employees earlier this month, he told them that bankruptcy was a possibility, and that the company needed to move with urgency to make its $8 subscription product, Twitter Blue, something users will want to pay for given the pull-back by advertisers that had affected revenue.

Twitter Blue has since been launched but was rolled back until such a time when there is “high confidence of stopping impersonation”.

Despite the turmoil during Mr Musk's first month in charge, he has claimed the site's performance has drastically improved.

First he tweeted that Twitter had added 1.6 million daily active users this past week, “another all-time high”.

And then he tweeted that hate speech impressions were “down by 1/3 from pre-spike levels”.

Updated: November 24, 2022, 6:02 AM
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