Half of Twitter ‘s 7,500 employees were laid off on Friday, according to an internal document.
It is the part of the company’s restructuring by its new owner, billionaire Elon Musk.
As Elon Musk had announced, Twitter reported this Friday the dismissal of “close to 50%” of its 7,500 employees in the world, a week after being acquired by who is considered the richest man on the planet.
“Nearly 50% of the workforce will be affected” by the layoffs, says an email accessed by the AFP agency , which was sent to Twitter employees who lost their jobs after the company was bought for 44,000 . millions of dollars.
The firm’s employees had been called to stay home this Friday pending the round of layoffs, within the framework of a company restructuring launched by Musk.
They were already warned
The Californian firm communicated its decision to each employee by email, and announced the temporary closure of offices.
“As announced earlier today, Twitter is downsizing to help improve the health of the company. These decisions are never easy and it is with regret that we are writing to inform you that your position at Twitter is affected. Today (Friday) is his last day of work”, indicates one of the emails sent to the employees to which the AFP has had access.
Workers have been bracing for downsizing since Musk completed his $44 billion takeover of the company last week , quickly moving to dissolve its board of directors and fire its CEO and top managers.
Reactions in the network
Some workers had already found out on Friday that they had been fired and turned to the blue bird network to say goodbye to their colleagues.
“I don’t have a job,” tweeted former employee Blake Herzinger, as others reported losing access to the company’s servers and email accounts.
An email sent to Twitter employees on Thursday told them not to report to work on Friday.
“Our offices will be temporarily closed and all access credentials will be suspended,” the message said. He also noted that Twitter is going through an “incredibly challenging” time.
“We recognize that this will impact a number of people who have made valuable contributions to Twitter , but unfortunately this action is necessary to ensure the company’s future success,” it said.
On Thursday night, five recently fired Twitter employees filed a class action lawsuit against the company for failing to receive the 60-day notice required by US law for mass layoffs, according to the text of the claim consulted by AFP.
Elon Musk seeks responsibility after fall
To finance the purchase of Twitter , Musk heavily borrowed the company, whose financial health is already fragile after posting significant losses in the first two quarters of the year.
Musk, a 51-year-old South African-born engineer with US and Canadian citizenship and also the head of Tesla and SpaceX, took out $ 13 billion worth of loans , which will have to be repaid by Twitter and not by him.
He also sold about $15.5 billion of his shares in Tesla twice, in April and August, and backed $ 12.5 billion in loans with his shares in the automaker.
Musk blames activists
On Friday, Musk blamed Twitter ‘s revenue drop on “a group of activists who put pressure on advertisers even though nothing changed with content moderation and we did everything we could to appease the activists.”
“It’s really nonsense! They are trying to destroy free speech in America,” he added.
Advertisements are Twitter ‘s main source of income and Musk has tried to calm things down by ensuring that the platform will not become “hell for everyone”.
But big companies like General Motors and Volkswagen stopped advertising on Twitter after the acquisition.
Criticism against Musk’s decision
Civil rights groups have raised concerns that Musk will allow unchecked misinformation and hate speech on the social network and reinstate locked accounts, including that of former US President Donald Trump , who was kicked out shortly after his supporters stormed Capitol Hill . on January 6, 2021.
Musk announced that he will form a committee to assess the social network’s future policy on posts and the reinstatement of blocked accounts.
One of the main ideas raised by Musk since his takeover is the establishment of a subscription of eight dollars a month that allows users to have their account certified and be less exposed to advertising.
But this project has raised a lot of criticism and reluctance, especially among users who already have an authenticated account.