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Massive Twitter layoffs begin as Musk launches overhaul

A company-wide email seen by AFP said Twitter employees would be notified of their future with the company via email on Friday at the launch of the company.

Thousands of Twitter employees were ordered to stay home Friday pending an invigorating round of layoffs that could see half the payroll disappear as new owner Elon Musk launches his major overhaul of the company.

A company-wide email seen by AFP said Twitter employees would be emailed Friday at the start of operations in California about their future with the company.

The cull is part of Musk’s pursuit of ways to pay for the massive $44 billion deal that saw him take on billions of dollars in debt and sell $15.5 billion worth of Tesla stock, his electric car company.

Musk, the boss of Tesla and SpaceX, is looking for new ways for Twitter to monetize its massive buyout, including an idea of ​​charging users $8 a month for verified accounts.

The measures would help overcome the potential advertiser loss, Twitter’s main source of revenue, with many of the world’s top brands putting their ad purchases on hold, shaken by Musk’s well-known disdain for content moderation.

The mercurial tycoon complained on Twitter on Friday of a “massive drop in revenue” that he blamed on “activist groups” who pressured advertisers.

“We have done everything we can to appease the activists. Extremely confused! They are trying to destroy free speech in America,” he added.

This seemed to refer to Musk’s recent meeting with civil rights groups in which he heard concerns that Twitter would open the floodgates to hate speech.

In an effort to calm nerves, Musk had vowed that Twitter will not become a “free-for-everything hellscape,” but his promise was quickly followed by a tweet containing a conspiracy theory about an attack on the US House Speaker’s husband. .

While the Californian company has huge influence over opinion makers and celebrities, it has long struggled to generate profits and has failed to keep up with Facebook, Instagram and TikTok in gaining new users.

“In an effort to put Twitter on a healthy path, we will go through the difficult process of reducing our global workforce,” the company’s email read.

The email didn’t include a number, but the Washington Post and New York Times reported that about half of Twitter’s 7,500 employees — mostly based in San Francisco — will be laid off.

‘Back home’

The company said that to ensure “the safety” of employees and sensitive data, its headquarters would remain closed and all access to badges would be suspended.

“Those on their way to the office should turn around and return home,” the email added.

It also said those still employed by the company would find out through their company email, while those shown the door would get a notification in their personal email.

Some workers have already begun to learn about their fate and say goodbye to colleagues via Twitter.

“Spoiler Alert: I don’t have a job,” ex-employee Blake Herzinger tweeted when others reported losing access to company servers and email accounts.

Twitter employees have been bracing for this kind of bad news since Musk completed his acquisition late last week and quickly began winding up the board and firing its chief executive and top executives.

Late Thursday, a group of five Twitter employees who had already been fired filed a class action complaint against the company alleging they had not been given the required 60-day notice period required by law.

The lawsuit refers to the U.S. Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, which gives workers the right to be notified in advance of mass layoffs or factory closures.

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