Elon Musk to cut half of his Twitter workforce, report says

Twitter’s new owner Elon Musk plans to halve the company’s workforce, insiders told Bloomberg on Wednesday.

The report says the company’s workforce will be reduced by 3,700, leaving it with around 3,800 workers to run its operations. Affected employees would be notified on Friday and could receive a 60-day severance package, although specific exit terms have yet to be confirmed.

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

The decision to cut staff is apparently part of efforts to reduce Twitter’s operating costs as Musk looks for ways to improve 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 fire the CEO and CFO, as well as the entire board.

In another move that is likely to increase tensions within the San Francisco-based company, Musk is expected to end the Twitter work from anywhere policy it introduced during the pandemic. This means employees will have to report to a Twitter office to work, although exceptions can be made for some workers, Bloomberg said.

Reports late last month suggested Musk could lay off up to three-quarters of the workforce. The impending disruption prompted some employees to share an internal letter, seen by Time, that described the downsizing plan as “reckless.”

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

The letter called on the new owner to maintain current staffing levels and also to preserve staff benefits, including the ability to work remotely. Twitter said at the height of the pandemic that some staff could work from home “forever” if they wanted. The letter was signed “Twitter workers,” but it’s unclear how many employees put their names on it.

With the pleas expressed in the letter apparently falling on deaf ears, it remains to be seen how Twitter’s remaining employees will react.

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Michael A. Bynum