Twitter sacks 50% of its workforce to tackle revenue drop

Elon Musk and twitter

As advertisers withdrew their support due to worries over content moderation, Twitter Inc. reduced half of its workforce on Friday, but said that the team in charge of halting the spread of misinformation faced less layoffs.

The social media company’s employees said in tweets that several product and engineering teams, as well as teams in charge of communications, content moderation, human rights, and machine learning ethics, had been laid off.

Elon Musk, the richest man in the world and the company’s new owner, tweeted on Friday that the platform was seeing a “massive drop in revenue” as a result of the advertiser withdrawal. The action ends a week of tumult and ambiguity over the company’s future.

Musk attributed the losses to a coalition of civil rights groups that had been pressuring Twitter’s top advertisers to take action if he did not safeguard content moderation – concerns that were amplified in the wake of pivotal legislative elections on Tuesday.

Following the layoffs, the groups said they were increasing their pressure and asking that brands cancel their Twitter ads internationally.

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“Unfortunately there is no choice when the company is losing over $4M/day,” Musk tweeted of the layoffs, adding that everyone affected was offered three months of severance pay.

The company kept quiet about the extent of the cuts until late in the day, when Yoel Roth, head of safety and integrity, tweeted confirmation of internal plans that projected the layoffs would touch around 3,700 workers, or 50% of the workforce.

Musk has pledged to protect Twitter from becoming a “hellscape” while restoring free expression.

On Friday, President Joe Biden said that Musk had bought Twitter, a social media platform that spreads misinformation all over the world.

“And now what are we all worried about: Elon Musk goes out and buys an outfit that sends – that spews lies all across the world… There’s no editors anymore in America. There’s no editors. How do we expect kids to be able to understand what is at stake?”