Twitter Begins Widespread Layoffs under Musk

    04 November 2022

    Twitter began widespread dismissals of employees as new owner Elon Musk reorganizes the social media site.

    The company had told employees by email that they would find out by Friday morning if they had been laid off. The email did not say how many of the 7,500 or so employees would lose their jobs.

    Musk did not answer a question about the dismissal plan at a conference in New York on Friday. Investor Ron Baron had asked the businessman how much money he would save after he "fired half of Twitter."

    A sign is pictured outside the Twitter headquarters in San Francisco, Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2022. (AP Photo/Godofredo A. V<I>&#</I>225;squez)
    A sign is pictured outside the Twitter headquarters in San Francisco, Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2022. (AP Photo/Godofredo A. V&#225;squez)

    Instead, Musk blamed activists who called on companies to halt advertising on the site. "The activist groups have been successful in causing a massive drop in Twitter advertising revenue," he said. He added that Twitter had done its best to satisfy the activists. But, "nothing is working," Musk said.

    Twitter employees have been expecting job cuts following Musk's $44 billion takeover of the company. On his first day as owner, Musk fired several top leaders. He also removed the company's board of directors and made himself the only board member.

    On Thursday night, many Twitter employees expressed support for co-workers by posting heart emojis in blue – the same color as Twitter's bird logo.

    By early Friday, some employees posted that they could not log into their work accounts. They said those who worked in engineering, communications, product and content curation were among those being dismissed.

    Rachel Bonn, a Twitter user wrote: "Last Thursday in the SF (San Francisco) office, really the last day Twitter was Twitter. 8 months pregnant and have a 9 month old. Just got cut off from laptop access."

    Arnaud Weber, a vice president of engineering said his goodbye on Twitter on Friday: "Twitter still has a lot of unlocked potential but I'm proud of what we accomplished."

    A worker said employees on the Twitter Blue team were also dismissed. The team was working on developing new products for the site. "Just to be clear, he fired the team working on this," the employee said.

    Is it legal?

    A spokesperson for California's Employment Development Department told The Associated Press that Musk and Twitter had not given public notice of the coming layoffs.

    U.S. and California laws require employers with at least 100 workers to give public notice if planning to dismiss 500 or more employees. The requirement is for both publicly traded and privately held companies.

    On Thursday, several employees opened a legal action against Twitter in a federal court in San Francisco. One had been fired and the others had been locked out of the company's computer systems. The employees say Twitter plans to dismiss more employees and has violated the law by not providing the required notice.

    The layoffs come at a tough time for social media companies as companies are cutting back on advertising. In September, Facebook's parent company Meta said it was working on plans to reorganize and reduce workers.

    Big companies including General Motors and General Mills have all halted advertising on Twitter. The companies wanted to see how the service will operate under Musk.

    And Europe's Volkswagen Group said Friday it is suggesting a suspension of paid advertising on Twitter for its car companies, including Audi, Porsche and Bentley.

    I'm Dan Novak.

    Hai Do adapted this story for Learning English based on reporting from The Associated Press and Reuters.


    Words in This Story

    revenue - n. money that is made by or paid to a business

    logo - n. a symbol that is used to identify a company and that appears on its products

    curation - n. the action or process of selecting and organizing online content

    access - n. a way of getting near something

    potential - n. something that can be developed to make better

    accomplish - v. to succeed in doing something

    layoff - n. the act of ending the employment of a worker or workers