Elon Musk plans to cut up to half of Twitter workforce

Elon Musk has drawn up plans to lay off up to half of Twitter’s 7,500 employees, according to people familiar with the matter, as part of a broader cost-cutting overhaul that could happen by the end of the week.

The billionaire plans to cut about 3,700 jobs at Twitter following his $44 billion acquisition of the social media company, two people said, although the exact figure could change. He also intends to mandate office work starting Monday, reversing Twitter’s current policy of allowing employees to work from anywhere, one of the people said.

The job cuts are expected to take place on Friday if not sooner, another person said. News of the plans was first reported by Bloomberg. Twitter could not be reached for comment.

Musk has been putting his stamp on Twitter since the acquisition closed a week ago, asking employees to work around the clock on select projects.

On Wednesday, Musk announced one such project: Twitter plans to offer a $8-per-month premium subscription service that will verify users, increase the visibility of their posts, and allow them to see fewer ads.

He has also launched plans to significantly reduce headcount after previously saying he could cut jobs and costs to make Twitter “healthy”.

Late last week, he reshuffled the management team and fired executives, including Twitter boss Parag Agrawal. He enlisted a small group of trusted advisors, including his personal attorney Alex Spiro and venture capitalist David Sacks, to help him assess the company’s governance.

Over the weekend, Musk asked some managers and advisers to compile lists of who to fire, according to people familiar with the matter, while several other company executives, including Chief Commercial Officer Sarah Personette, announced their resignations.

The cost-cutting measures come as Musk faces concerns from advertisers, the source of much of Twitter’s revenue, who fear his plans to relax content moderation rules on the platform will lead to a surge in inappropriate content.

L’Oréal has decided to suspend advertising on the platform, while Interpublic, one of the world’s largest ad groups, has advised its clients to stop spending on Twitter for the next week, according to advice first reported by Morning Brew.

In an email sent to a media outlet this week and seen by the Financial Times, Twitter urged brands to “stay with us as we move through this transition,” adding that it is complying with its guidelines have not changed to moderate content and strive to be “warm and friendly welcome to all”.

In a call Wednesday to Top Adspend on Twitter, Musk told brands he plans to offer different levels of content moderation, similar to a movie rating system, according to three people familiar with the conversation. He also assured callers that he has no plans to eliminate the content moderation role at the company, one of the people said.

However, Musk also appeared to dismiss marketers’ concerns on Wednesday, tweeting a poll asking whether advertisers should support free speech or political “correctness.”

https://www.ft.com/content/9164ab3f-39b7-45a4-ac25-8bf5a1c7f7df Elon Musk plans to cut up to half of Twitter workforce

Adam Bradshaw

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