Elon Musk wasted no time. “We will begin the complex process of downsizing our global workforce on Friday,” Twitter told its staff on Thursday in an email seen by AFP, confirming rumors that have been circulating since the Tesla boss bought the social network a week ago.
The announcement said all employees would be informed by Friday morning when the business reopens in California, but did not specify how many people would be affected. According to the Washington Post, the new chief plans to lay off about 50% of the approximately 7,500 employees.
“We understand that this will affect a number of individuals who have made a significant contribution to the development of Twitter, but, unfortunately, this action is necessary to ensure the success of the company in the future,” – said the company’s employees.
Billion dollars of interest per year payable on the debt
The Tesla and SpaceX boss bought Twitter for $44 billion and took control of it last Thursday, after six months of a very eventful acquisition. He immediately dismissed the board of directors, fired the chief executive and other high-ranking officials, and launched large projects that needed to be completed quickly. Several engineers reported that they had to spend the night on site for several nights.
The takeover was financed with $13 billion in debt. Twitter, which has only made a profit twice, could be quickly crushed by the billion-dollar interest payouts each year, especially in times of advertiser crunch and a sluggish market. Therefore, Elon Musk seeks to drastically reduce the payroll. And create new income, in particular, by making account verification pay $8 per month.
Elon Musk, who first renamed himself “Chief Twit” (“twit” means “nerd” in English) and then “Twitter hotline operator,” invited Tesla developers on Friday to get a look at the work of Twitter employees.
Many of the engineers had to print out the last lines of the code they had created, according to one employee who asked not to be named. According to another employee, there were also lists comparing geeks to each other, mostly based on production volume.
“Farce and Shame”
“The ongoing dismissal process is a farce and a disgrace. Tesla’s henchmen make decisions about people they know nothing about except the number of lines of code they’ve created. This is complete nonsense,” Taylor Leese, director of the engineering group, who said he was fired, wrote on Sunday.
On Thursday, more and more employees of the Twitter network expressed their concern or joked. “There have been no mass layoffs yet, and everyone on Twitter has already lost their jobs. The job that was in their contract, the job they loved, working with all the colleagues they knew and appreciated,” said Eli Schuetze, an IT professional based in London on Twitter, according to his profile. “It’s the start of a clean slate, no matter which side you’re on,” she added.