Elon Musk will begin laying off Twitter staffers, days after his $44 billion takeover

2022-11-04 14:44 Rob Wile and Ben Collins

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Twitter will be laying off staff members, it said in an email obtained by NBC News.

In the email, sent Thursday evening, Twitter said it would notify staffers by email about their employment.

“We recognize that this will impact a number of individuals who have made valuable contributions to Twitter, but this action is unfortunately necessary to ensure the company’s success moving forward,” the email said.

It had been widely reported that Musk planned to slash the company’s 7,500-person payroll after he finalized his $44 billion acquisition late last week. He immediately dismissed CEO Parag Agrawal, as well as Twitter’s chief financial officer and its head of legal, public policy and trust and safety upon taking over the company.

A Twitter employee said Thursday’s email was the first communication staff members had received from Twitter since the acquisition Oct. 27.

“It’s total chaos, house melting down, everyone looking towards this email,” the employee said.

According to the email from Twitter, staff members will get notices either through their company email accounts — if they still have jobs — or their personal email accounts if their “employment is impacted.”

The company said staffing is being reduced in “an effort to place Twitter on a healthy path.”

Worries about layoffs began to emerge before the buyout transaction was complete, but Twitter’s general counsel urged employees not to dwell on rumors before Musk took ownership.

Some Twitter employees have expressed a desire to be laid off and get severance, and some are concerned that disagreeing with Musk could mean losing both their jobs and the exit package.

“At the end of this nightmare, I better get a cash prize,” a Twitter employee said.

Meanwhile, Musk has sought to reassure advertisers, saying in a post on Twitter that the platform would not become a “free-for-all hellscape.” He also told the European Union that he planned to comply with its Digital Services Act, which penalizes companies if they do not control illegal content, Reuters reported Monday.

Musk has also promised to loosen rules about what kind of speech is allowed, prompting concerns that the changes could drive away users and advertisers. General Motors announced it would suspend its advertising on the platform.

He has also said he plans to form a content-moderation council that would include “widely diverse viewpoints”; no changes have been made so far.

Reports suggested that hate speech surged in the opening days of Musk’s ownership of the site. Musk himself posted a link to a baseless anti-LGBTQ conspiracy theory Sunday about the attack on Paul Pelosi, the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. Musk deleted the tweet.

It was among nearly two dozen tweets Musk posted last weekend, few of which offered additional clarity about what the site will look like under his leadership.