Elon Musk begins layoffs at Twitter

Elon Musk begins layoffs at Twitter

SAN FRANCISCO – Elon Musk will begin laying off Twitter employees on Friday, according to a company-wide email, shedding the social network’s workforce of 7,500 a little more than a week after it completed its buyout of the blockbuster.

Twitter employees were notified in an email that the layoffs were beginning, according to a copy of the message seen by The New York Times. Workers were told to go home and not return to offices on Friday as the cuts went ahead. The message, which came from a generic address and was signed “Twitter,” did not list the total number of layoffs.

“In an effort to put Twitter on a healthy path, we will be going through the difficult process of reducing our global workforce,” the email said. “We recognize that this will affect many individuals who have made valuable contributions to Twitter, but this action is unfortunately necessary to ensure the company’s future success.”

About half of Twitter’s workers appeared to be out of a job, according to previous internal messages and to an investor, though the final number may take time to become clear. As the email hit employee inboxes Thursday night, workers posted congratulatory emojis and heart emoticons on Slack, the messaging service.

Mr. Musk completed the $44 billion acquisition of Twitter on October 27 and immediately fired its CEO and other top managers. Since then there have been several managers resigned or were releasedwhile managers were asked to compile lists of high- and low-performing employees, presumably with a view to cutting jobs.

Mr. Musk, the richest man in the world, faces pressure to make Twitter work financially. The deal was the largest buyout of a technology company in history. The billionaire also borrowed about $13 billion on Twitter for the acquisition and is willing to pay about $1 billion a year in interest. But Twitter has often lost money, and its cash flow isn’t strong. Mr. Musk could benefit from cutting costs to make the company cheaper to run.

Mr. Musk and Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Twitter’s layoffs likely won’t be the biggest in the tech industry overall. Computer maker HP cut 24,600 of its employees, about 7.5 percent, in 2008. He later cut tens of thousands more, reaching approx 30 percent of its workforce.

Recently, other tech companies have cut jobs. On Thursday, Lyft said it would lay off 13 percent, or about 650, of its 5,000 employees. Stripe, a payment processing platform, he said it would cut 14 percent of its jobs, or roughly 1,100.

Mr. Musk has called on advisers and investors to help him take over Twitter. He also brought in more than 50 engineers and employees from his other companies, including electric car maker Tesla, to review Twitter’s layoff lists and the social platform’s technology.

Although federal and California laws require companies to provide advance notice of mass layoffs, it is unclear whether Mr. Musk did it. A spokesman for the California Department of Employment Development said Thursday night that it had received no such notice from Twitter, which is based in San Francisco and is expected to report the mass layoffs to the agency.

Rumors of impending layoffs swirled on Twitter. On Wednesday, employees noticed a Slack message suggesting 3,738 people could be laid off. The message said changes could still be made to the list, according to a copy seen by The New York Times.

That evening, some employees posted “A guide to letting go” with advice on corporate governance and employment rights. One worker built software to help colleagues retrieve important emails and documents. It was later firedhe said.

On Thursday, workers received another signal that their workplace is changing. Twitter’s “Days Off,” which are monthly days off so employees can rest and recharge, have been removed from their calendars, two people with knowledge of the matter said.

Pursuant to the terms of his agreement with the acquisition of Twitter, Mr. Musk agreed to keep employee compensation and benefits the same for a year. Twitter workers are typically paid at least two months’ salary and the cash value of the equity they were supposed to receive within three months of the firing date, according to an internal benefits summary seen by The Times.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Ryan Mac contributed to the reporting.

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