Status: 11/04/2022 10:08 PM
With a single click in their e-mail inbox, 7,500 Twitter employees found out if they still had jobs. Tech billionaire Elon Musk wants to save huge amounts of money. Big advertisers are leaving.
A week after multi-billionaire Elon Musk took over, short messaging service Twitter began laying off employees in a big way. According to an e-mail from Twitter to employees obtained by the AFP news agency, “nearly 50 percent” of the online platform’s approximately 7,500 employees are affected by the layoffs.
Musk took over Twitter last Thursday for $44 billion and promptly fired short messaging service chief Parag Agarwal and other key managers. Several employees were reported to be sacked on Friday. “In an effort to get Twitter on a healthier path, we will go through a difficult process of downsizing,” Twitter said in an email to employees the day before. It will meet “many people who have made valuable contributions to Twitter”, but is “unfortunately necessary to ensure the company’s future success”. The email said that the employees were not to come to the office even on Friday. “Our offices will be closed temporarily.”
Employees file class action lawsuit
The dismissed employees reacted with disappointment to their dismissal. “I woke up to the news that my time on Twitter has run out,” Twitter executive Michelle Austin wrote on the short message service. “It breaks my heart. I don’t want to believe it.” The heavily pregnant employee Rachel Bonn was also sacked. She wrote on Twitter that just hours after Elon Musk announced staff cuts, access to his work laptop had been disabled.
A group of five previously fired employees immediately filed a class action lawsuit against Twitter. He accused the company of not giving him 60 days notice of layoffs as required by law. One of the plaintiffs, who lives in California, said he was fired early November 1 without warning or severance pay.
Twitter has been battling financial problems for a long time. Among other things, the short messaging service posted losses in the first two quarters of the year. Musk lamented the “huge drop in revenue” on Friday, blaming “activist groups” for putting pressure on advertisers. “They’re trying to destroy freedom of expression in America.”
The big advertisers are leaving
US automaker General Motors stopped advertising on Twitter only last week. More recently, other corporations followed, such as food giant General Mills and carmaker Volkswagen. Volkswagen said the group had recommended brands such as Audi and Skoda to cease their activities on Twitter for the time being. Advertising is the main source of income for Twitter. The ad freeze comes amid fears that Musk could significantly undermine the platform’s efforts to combat the spread of hate messages and misinformation.
The boss of electric car maker Tesla and aerospace company SpaceX has announced, among other things, that he wants to release blocked user accounts like former US President Donald Trump’s. Shortly before Twitter took over, Musk tried to reassure advertisers by saying that Twitter would not become a completely unregulated space. However, he himself fueled further fears about the future development of Twitter when he spread a conspiracy theory about the husband of US top politician Nancy Pelosi, who was seriously injured in a brutal attack.
Job cuts started on Twitter
Gudrun Engel, ARD Washington, Daily News at 8:00 pm, November 4, 2022
concern about falling standards
Many observers are also questioning how Twitter intends to moderate content now, while the company is laying off half its workforce. The digital policy spokesman for the SPD parliamentary group, Jens Zimmermann, explained that with half the staff, Twitter would not be able to meet the legal requirements for controlling and handling complaints in Europe. There are already many signs of a lack of action.
Under the title #StopToxicTwitterCoalition, more than 60 civil society organizations called for a boycott of Twitter ads. According to a statement from the coalition, a significant moderation of Twitter content is no longer possible due to the wave of layoffs. Hate speech is a serious problem, especially in view of the upcoming congressional elections in the United States.
Elon Musk accused activists of urging big companies to stop advertising on Twitter. “The activist group has been successful in driving Twitter’s ad revenue down drastically, and we’ve tried our best to appease them and nothing is working,” Musk said.
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