Elon Musk Says Laid-Off Employees Were Offered 3 Months of Severance
Elon Musk: Despite claiming that the team in charge of stopping the spread of disinformation was less affected, Twitter lost half of its staff on Friday as advertisers withdrew support over concerns over content moderation.
The social media company’s employees said in tweets that some product and engineering departments, as well as teams in charge of communications, content curation, human rights, and machine learning ethics, had been eliminated.
Elon Musk, the richest man in the world and the company’s new owner, tweeted on Friday that the site was seeing a “huge loss in revenue” as a result of the advertiser retreat. The action ends a week of tumult and ambiguity over the company’s future.
Elon Musk put the blame for the losses on a coalition of human rights organisations that had been putting pressure on Twitter’s major advertisers to take action if he did not defend content moderation – worries that were amplified ahead of Tuesday’s potentially crucial congressional elections. Following the layoffs, the groups claimed they were stepping up their demands and demanded corporations globally drop their Twitter advertisements.
Until late in the day, when the head of safety and integrity Yoel Roth tweeted confirmation of internal plans seen by Reuters earlier in the week, the company kept quiet about the extent of the cuts, anticipating that approximately 3,700 individuals, or 50% of the staff, would be affected.
The company’s “fundamental moderation capabilities” were not affected by the reductions, according to Roth, who stated that about 15% of his team—which is in charge of stopping the spread of false information and other dangerous content—was affected.
Musk supported the safety executive last week, praising his “great integrity” in response to Roth’s criticism of the late President Donald Trump in tweets from years prior. Elon Musk has pledged to protect Twitter from becoming a “hellscape” while restoring free speech. On Friday, President Joe Biden said that Musk had bought Twitter, a social media site that spreads misinformation all over the world.
For months, top marketers have expressed concern about Musk’s acquisition. General Motors and General Mills are two companies that have announced they have halted running ads on Twitter while they learn more about the platform’s future plans.
Musk stated in a tweet that his staff had done “all we could” to please the groups while making no changes to content moderation. Musk described the activist push as “an attack on the First Amendment” when speaking at an investors’ conference in New York on Friday. An inquiry for feedback from Twitter received no response.
The first contact from Twitter’s leadership after Musk became CEO last week was an email informing employees of layoffs. It was not signed by Musk or any other executives; only “Twitter” was listed as the signatory.
Before getting an official layoff letter on Friday morning, dozens of staff members tweeted that they had lost access to their work email and Slack channels. This sparked an outpouring of sympathy from both present and past colleagues on the platform they had helped to create.
They used the hashtags #OneTeam and #LoveWhereYouWorked, a past tense of the phrase staff members had long used to honour the workplace’s work culture, to share blue hearts and salute emojis to show support for one another.
Employees at Twitter reported that the curation team, which was in charge of “highlighting and contextualising the best events and stories that occur on Twitter,” had been fired.
Twitter’s acting head of human rights, an attorney named Shannon Raj Singh, tweeted that the whole department had been fired.
According to a tweet from a former senior manager at Twitter, another team that concentrated on research into how Twitter used machine learning and algorithms, a topic that was important to Musk, was also terminated.