Musk's Plan: Cut 75% of Twitter's Staff

If sale falls through, company still wants to reduce payroll by 25%
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 20, 2022 7:10 PM CDT
Twitter Staff Is Looking at Major Cuts
FILE - The Twitter application is seen on a digital device, Monday, April 25, 2022, in San Diego. A Delaware judge is hearing arguments, Tuesday, Sept. 27, over the exchange of information by lawyers in Twitter's lawsuit seeking to force billionaire Elon Musk to carry through with his $44 billion acquisition...   (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)

Elon Musk plans to cut as much as 75% of the staff if he takes over Twitter, a reduction analysts said would be certain to affect millions of users. If his takeover fails, the Washington Post reports, Twitter's management still plans to reduce the workforce by nearly one-fourth. Musk's planned cuts, which he outlined to potential investors, would leave users vulnerable to hacking and exposure to offensive material, including child pornography, analysts said. The Musk-Twitter deal is on track to close by next Friday, giving the billionaire immediate control of the social media platform.

Edwin Chen, who used to be in charge of Twitter's spam and health metrics, said Musk's cuts of potentially 5,600 employees are "unimaginable," though he agrees the company is overstaffed. "It would be a cascading effect," Chen said, "where you’d have services going down and the people remaining not having the institutional knowledge to get them back up, and being completely demoralized and wanting to leave themselves." Tech Crunch cautions that it's possible Musk was just talking; he might well want to lay off most of the workforce but could find the place couldn't run on a skeletal staff. "He's got to be able to show if he makes those cuts, what happens next?" a corporate governance expert told the Post. "What's he gonna replace it with, AI?"

Twitter's plan to trim $800 million in payroll by the end of 2023, as well as cut back its infrastructure, could be why it welcomed Musk's bid. Selling would let management avoid the morale-busting layoffs and possibly a breakdown in its effort to stop hate speech and misinformation, per the Post. Analysts said trouble is ahead for Twitter regardless of who owns it. "The easy part for Musk was buying Twitter and the hard part is fixing it," said Dan Ives of Wedbush Securities. "It will be a herculean challenge to turn this around." (Read more Twitter stories.)

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