Elon Musk announces mass Twitter layoffs to start Friday

The cuts, which will be emailed, come as the new Twitter CEO speculates to cut staff by as much as 50%

Elon Musk will begin mass layoffs on Twitter on Friday, sharply reducing the social media platform's workforce, the company said in an email to staff on Thursday.

"In an effort to put Twitter on a healthy path, we will be going through the difficult process of reducing our global workforce on Friday," the email said. The New York Times and Washington Post both reported layoffs and cited internal emails.

All employees will receive the email on Friday, the notice said. Those who will keep their jobs will get an email to their work account, those who are laid off will receive a notification to their personal email. Employees are reminded not to disclose “confidential company information” on social media or the press.

The layoffs come as Musk speculated to cut as much as 50% of Twitter's workforce, just days after becoming head of the company he bought for $44 billion. That could mean thousands of jobs lost, as the company has more than 7,000 employees by the end of 2021 according to regulatory filings.

Twitter said in an email to employees that its offices would be temporarily closed and all badge access would be suspended to "help ensure the security of every employee and Twitter system and customer data".

Musk already fired several top Twitter executives soon after taking control of the company, including chief executive, Parag Agrawal, chief financial officer, Ned Segal, and head of legal and policy affairs, Vijaya Gadde.

Musk's job cuts come as part of a broader effort to make the company profitable after buying it for $44 billion, a price he admits was an "overpayment". To complete the deal, Musk applied for a combination of his own funds and loans of about $13 billion, which he is now facing pressure to repay.

On Thursday, Musk directed the Twitter team to save $1 billion in annual infrastructure cost savings by cutting funding for cloud and server services. He has floated a number of ideas for making a profit on Twitter, including a plan to charge for a "verified" badge, and creating an "all app" that would combine multiple platforms into one.

The Washington Post, citing internal sources, said the pending layoffs were expected to impact the company at large, with marketing, product, engineering, legal, and trust and safety cuts.

Experts in misinformation and civil rights advocates have warned that cutting Twitter staff just days before midterm elections in the US could have serious consequences, as the platform has struggled with content moderation and will now have fewer resources.

"With the horrific attack on Paul Pelosi, we've just seen how social media conspiracy theories can lead to real-world violence, but Musk is very dangerous going through this process," said Sacha Haworth, executive director at the Technology Oversight Project.

Twitter employees shared messages of support with one another on the platform on Thursday as layoffs loomed, many using the hashtag #OneTeam at work.

Senior community manager Simon Balmain tweeted that he believed he had been fired after he logged out of his work laptop remotely and was removed from the company's internal communications app, Slack.

#OneTeam forever. Love you all so much," he tweeted. "So sad it had to end like this."

Morale has reportedly suffered for months as the chaotic story of whether Musk will buy Twitter continues, with employees quitting in droves.

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