Monday, December 4, 2023

Elon Musk to cut half of Twitter workforce, report says


New Twitter owner Elon Musk is planning to cut the company’s workforce by about half, insiders told Bloomberg on Wednesday.

The report said the company’s headcount will be reduced by 3,700, leaving it with about 3,800 workers to carry out its operations. Affected employees will reportedly be notified on Friday and may be given 60 days’ severance pay, though the precise exit terms have yet to be confirmed.

Consulting an inner circle of advisers, sources told Bloomberg that Musk and his team created “layoff lists” with employees ranked according to their contributions to Twitter’s code.

The move to cut the workforce is apparently part of efforts to reduce Twitter’s running costs as Musk looks at ways to boost the company’s bottom line.

News of the layoffs comes just days after Musk closed the deal to acquire the social media company for $44 billion. One of his first acts as head of the company was to dismiss the CEO and chief financial officer, as well as the entire board of directors.

In another move that’s likely to increase tensions at the San Francisco-based company, Musk is expected to end Twitter’s work-from-anywhere policy that it introduced during the pandemic. It means employees will have to show up at a Twitter office for work, though exceptions may be made for some workers, Bloomberg said.

Reports at the end of last month suggested Musk could dismiss as much as three-quarters of the workforce. The looming disruption prompted some employees to share an internal letter, seen by Time, which described the plan to slash the workforce as “reckless.”

It said large job cuts would “hurt Twitter’s ability to serve the public conversation,” adding: “A threat of this magnitude is reckless, undermines our users’ and customers’ trust in our platform, and is a transparent act of worker intimidation.”

The letter called on the new owner to maintain the current levels of staff and also to preserve staff benefits, including the ability to work remotely. Twitter said at the height of the pandemic that some members of staff could work from home “forever” if they wished. The letter was signed “Twitter workers” though it’s not known how many employees put their names to it.

With the pleas expressed in the letter having seemingly fallen on deaf ears, it remains to be seen how the remaining workers at Twitter will respond.

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