Elon Musk has reportedly laid off about 10% of the global Twitter workforce as part of ongoing cost-cutting measures. This is the latest in a number of mass layoffs at the micro-blogging platform following his $44bn takeover in October last year.
This round of job cuts is expected to include product managers, data scientists working on machine learning and engineers working on site reliability. It isn’t clear how that is spread worldwide but reports suggest it will be at least 200 jobs cut from the 2,300 headcount.
Twitter hasn’t responded to the reports, first published in the New York Times on Sunday. It follows a mass layoff in early November soon after Musk’s takeover that saw 3,700 employees leave the company. At the time Musk said the platform was experiencing a “massive drop in revenue” due to advertisers pulling away over concerns around content moderation changes.
The job cuts are said to have been made over the weekend with the Wall Street Journal reporting that employees were sent emails telling them it was their “last working day at the company” on Saturday. It explained that their role was eliminated as part of a review of the company.
Musk has said he hopes Twitter will break even in terms of cash flow this year, bringing in about $3bn in revenue, which is about $2bn less than the 2021 revenue of $5.1bn – the last year of publicly reported earnings before Musk purchased the platform.
There have been a number of attempts to reduce Twitter’s reliance on advertising for revenue including an expansion of the Twitter Blue subscription program and the end of verified badges unless users pay. There is also a $ 1,000-a-month verification for businesses, and the end of free access to the API for developers. Despite extensive advertising and limiting two-factor authentication to Blue accounts, the subscription service only has 300,000 paying clients.
Twitter headcount reduction goes on, software budgets cut?
Twitter has gone from about 8,000 employees to just over 2,000 since Musk took over the company four months ago. He said in November that the first round of layoffs were necessary as the platform was losing $4m per day. Musk himself has not commented on the reports.
It has also been suggested the billionaire has been giving up office space to save on rent, auctioning off surplus office items and reassessing its software expenses. One report says Twitter has discontinued the use of corporate messaging tool Slack, while access to progress and product management tool Jira was temporarily suspended.
The Jira outage led to a number of engineers taking the day off, according to Platformer, as they couldn’t communicate or complete coding work. Jira is also used to track regulatory compliance and feature updates. It isn’t clear what caused the outage but access has since been restored. However, staff are said to still be without Slack.
The report in Platformer, which has spoken to Twitter insiders, suggests someone manually shut off access to the messaging tool as Musk wants to see if the company can manage without it. Musk may be trying to move Twitter over to Slack competitor Mattermost and Microsoft Teams which are both used by his other company Tesla.
The news of the layoffs and job cuts come as Musk announced plans to open-source the algorithm it uses to rank tweets in the timeline. He has also tasked engineers with cleaning up the recommendation algorithm before release and improving performance.