Twitter Inc. has told employees it would notify them about head-count reductions on Friday, a move that comes about a week after billionaire Elon Musk acquired the social-media company.
The company, in a message sent to staff on Thursday, didn’t spell out the extent of the cuts. Twitter had more than 7,500 employees at the start of this year, according to a regulatory filing.
The email seen by The Wall Street Journal said employees would receive a message by 9 a.m. PT Friday about whether they were affected.
The staff reductions were intended “to place Twitter on a healthy path,” according to the company’s email. “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 company added.
Later Thursday night, a growing number of Twitter employees said that they had lost access to their company Slack and email accounts, in an apparent sign that they were among those being laid off.
“Looks like I’m unemployed y’all,” wrote one on Twitter.
The layoffs cap a tumultuous period for Twitter staff that began in April, when the company first disclosed Mr. Musk had become its largest individual shareholder. Mr. Musk then agreed to join Twitter’s board, before deciding not to. He launched a bid for the company that Twitter eventually accepted. Weeks later Mr. Musk raised questions about the deal, then tried to abandon it, before reversing course again last month and saying he would go ahead with the transaction. Along the way, he at times criticized the company and its executives.
The Thursday email said Twitter’s offices would be temporarily closed to ensure the safety of employees, the company’s systems, and customer data. Employees who were in an office or on their way to one were asked to go home, according to the email.
Twitter employees have been bracing for job cuts. The Wall Street Journal previously reported that the company was drafting plans for broad layoffs, with one investor saying up to 50% of staff could be cut and that employees would be evaluated to determine the scope of the firings.
On Wednesday, employees and people familiar with the situation were sharing estimates ranging from more than 2,000 to nearly 3,750 layoffs, the latter equating to about half of the number of employees Twitter had at the beginning of this year.
Mr. Musk has long expressed little appreciation for managerial roles, instead emphasizing the value of technical talent. He reiterated that view shortly after taking over Twitter, tweeting Sunday, “There seem to be 10 people ‘managing’ for every one person coding,” in response to a user who asked what he viewed as the company’s biggest problem.
In April, as Mr. Musk was moving to buy Twitter; entrepreneur Jason Calacanis, a close ally, suggested cutting the number of Twitter employees to roughly 3,000, according to messages between the two, which were released as part of litigation around the transaction.
A staff of 3,000 would represent the lowest level since 2013, the year Twitter went public, when the platform had about 2,700 employees and its revenue was roughly 13% of its level last year.
Twitter’s employee numbers began climbing in 2019, after ranging between approximately 3,000 and 4,000 for several years. Twitter has said that the increase in recent years was driven by investments in engineering, product, design and research.
Even before officially taking control at Twitter, Mr. Musk had indicated that he was concerned about the company’s expenses. Twitter has posted a loss in eight of its past 10 fiscal years, according to FactSet.
Mr. Musk moved quickly to make personnel changes at the top of the company. Last week, on the same day he closed the deal, he fired Twitter Chief Executive
and three other top executives. Mr. Musk fired the executives for cause and is saying he isn’t required to pay them multimillion-dollar severance packages, the Journal reported. Other executives have departed since.
Mr. Musk has leveraged other parts of his business empire to try to put his imprint on Twitter. He brought in some Tesla engineers to begin working on reshaping the social-media platform, the Journal reported. Also added to an internal company directory were some people who appeared to work for the Boring Co., a tunneling business Mr. Musk founded.
Broadly, the social media industry is struggling with weaker revenue from digital advertisers. Such advertising has slowed due to several factors, including rising inflation, the war in Ukraine, and
privacy changes that have made it harder to track the performance of ads. Twitter rival
this year said it was letting 20% of staff go.
parent Meta Platforms Inc. also has indicated it was trimming ranks.
Tech companies beyond social-media also have embarked on belt tightening that is leading to job losses and hiring freezes. On Thursday, ride-hailing company
and payments company Stripe Inc. both announced major layoffs and
said it would freeze corporate hiring for months.
—Salvador Rodriguez and Sarah E. Needleman contributed to this article.
Write to Alexa Corse at [email protected] and Robert McMillan at [email protected]
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