Elon Musk, the new owner of Twitter, has claimed that the major round of layoffs at the microblogging platform was necessitated by the millions of dollars the company was losing every day.
To soften the blow, he clarified that all those losing their jobs were offered three months of severance pay, “which is 50 per cent more than legally required”.
“Regarding Twitter’s reduction in force, unfortunately there is no choice when the company is losing over $4M/day. Everyone exited was offered 3 months of severance, which is 50% more than legally required,” Musk said in a tweet.
The job cuts at Twitter came a week after the billionaire business magnate took over the platform after a $44 billion buyout. From firing executives to proposing a new content moderation council, a lot has unfolded with Musk at the helm.
In the days since his takeover, reports had circulated that he was planning to axes at least around half the jobs at Twitter in a bid to slash costs and save money. After denying the reports, Musk did an about-face and began firing employees on Friday.
“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 said in an internal memo to staff hours before the first round of mass layoffs commenced.
The cuts appear to be as broad as they were deep, affecting everything from Twitter’s trust and safety teams that handle content moderation to its marketing department. According to reports, the entire human rights team at the company was sacked.
In the wake of the layoffs, Twitter employees have sued the tech giant, filing a class action lawsuit arguing that the company was conducting mass layoffs without providing the required 60-day advance notice, in violation of federal and California law.
ACTIVISTS TO BLAME FOR REVENUE DROP?
Significantly, the Tesla CEO blamed “activist groups pressuring advertisers” for a “massive drop in revenue”. He, however, did not specify how much Twitter’s revenue has fallen, nor did he identify the activist groups in question.
Musk tweeted that his team had made no changes to content moderation and done “everything we could” to appease the groups. “Extremely messed up! They’re (civil right groups) trying to destroy free speech in America.”
Speaking at an investors conference in New York on Friday, Musk called the activist pressure “an attack on the First Amendment.”
It is also notable that several major advertisers such as Tesla rival General Motors, food company General Mills and pharmaceutical major Pfizer have temporarily paused their ad campaigns on Twitter since Musk took the reins.