Wednesday, 07 Dec 2022

Twitter sees sudden mass layoffs as Elon Musk admits massive drop in revenue

Twitter sees sudden mass layoffs as Elon Musk admits massive drop in revenue


Twitter sees sudden mass layoffs as Elon Musk admits massive drop in revenue

Twitter temporarily closed its offices and cut workers' access to internal systems on Friday as it began sacking staff without notice, a week after the billionaire Elon Musk took over the social media platform.

The firings, which could see as many as half of Twitter's 7,500 workers dismissed, came as Musk revealed brands had begun pulling their advertisements, leading to what he said was a "massive drop in revenue".

Audi, General Motors, General Mills and Pfizer were among those who paused spending on the service, amid growing concern about the direction Twitter will take under Musk. Advertising accounts for 90% of Twitter's revenues.

Just four days before the US midterm elections, in which hundreds of politicians are running for election, there were claims Twitter's "entire" curation team was dismissed, potentially jeopardizing the company's ability to counter misinformation, with one moderator warning of a risk content could become "more toxic". Reports indicate that the public relations team responsible for managing communications with journalists and other organizations has also seen deep cuts. Other groups that have been dissolved, according to members of those departments, include the company's human rights as well as the machine learning and algorithmic ethics teams.

One employee told the Guardian that the platform could not "function as usual" on Friday because so many members of staff had been locked out of their employee work accounts.

Musk blamed "activist groups pressuring advertisers" for the drop in revenue but the trend appears to have started with the advertisers themselves. He claimed nothing had changed with content moderation, and accused activists of "trying to destroy free speech in America".

However, according to internal sources it appeared the "entire" curation team across Twitter had been dismissed, although the system lockouts made it difficult to be certain. Twitter's curation team plays a key role in coverage of "civic integrity" events such as elections, breaking news and sports, ensuring users have vetted information presented as moments, trends and topics products. It is viewed internally as a key filter against misleading posts.

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