Following his recent takeover of Twitter as its new chief executive, Elon Musk will begin laying off staff on Friday. The notices will be communicated through their respective emails.
Twitter said in an email to its employees that by 9 a.m. Pacific time on Friday (12 p.m. EDT/1600 GMT), they would be alerted about staff cuts.
“In an effort to place Twitter on a healthy path, we will go through the difficult process of reducing our global workforce on Friday,” the message said.
The social media company added, “We recognize 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 moving forward.”
Twitter also pointed out that access to its offices would immediately be limited “to help ensure the safety of each employee as well as Twitter systems and customer data.”
It also indicated that staff not affected by layoffs would be notified through their company email. At the same time, those who were to be laid off would be informed of the “next steps” through their personal accounts.
“Given the nature of our distributed workforce and our desire to inform impacted individuals as quickly as possible, communication for this process will take place via email,” Twitter said.
Layoffs anticipated for almost half of Twitter’s staff
Currently, the company employs over eight thousand, and, according to information coming through from different staff on social media, it will be a little over half of that number who would be affected.
As Twitter struggles to make more profits, one measure to fix the problem is reducing wages. For over a week now, Musk has therefore demanded deep cost cuts and imposed an aggressive new work ethic across the company, hence the looming layoffs.
In an email sent to staff on Thursday, Twitter said, “If you are in an office or on your way to an office, please return home.”
Some Twitter employees have already tweeted out notifications that their access to the company’s IT system had been blocked and wondered whether that implied they were one of the layoffs.
Simon Balmain, a senior community manager for Twitter in the UK, said he believed he had been laid off because he was logged out of his work laptop and Slack messaging program.
“Everyone got an email saying that there was going to be a large reduction in headcount, and then around an hour later, folks started getting their laptops remotely wiped and access to Slack and Gmail revoked,” he stated.
Impending layoffs were long expected. However, the impending threat has changed Twitter’s famously open corporate culture that had so long been revered by its employees.
Another Twitter user—@SBkcrn—whose profile is described as a former senior community manager at Twitter, tweeted saying, “Looks like I’m unemployed y’all. Just got remotely logged out of my work laptop and removed from Slack.” Twitter, however, never responded to a request for comment.
Threat of downsizing looms amidst criticism over user fees
Elon Musk said on Tuesday that Twitter will charge an eight-dollar monthly fee to Twitter users, who want a blue tick by their name indicating a verified account.
A blue tick mark next to a verified username, normally for high-profile figures, is currently free of charge, so, it urged that the cost-cutting follows criticism of Twitter’s efforts to raise money by proposing to charge.
Replying to a tweet by author Stephen King, Musk said: “We need to pay the bills somehow! Twitter cannot rely entirely on advertisers. How about $8?”
We need to pay the bills somehow! Twitter cannot rely entirely on advertisers. How about $8?
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 1, 2022
He explained his decision further by stating, “I will explain the rationale in longer form before this is implemented. It is the only way to defeat the bots & trolls.”
However, critics have pointed out that this move could make it harder to identify reliable sources—hence such responses may have triggered the layoffs.
Mr. Changpeng Zhao, chief executive of the Binance Cryptocurrency platform which invested in Twitter as part of Mr. Musk’s takeover, also criticized the platform in speaking at the Web Summit in Lisbon, for having been slow to roll out new features, given its level of staffing. Mr. Zhao said that “a slimmer workforce would make more sense.”