Twitter layoffs proceed below Elon Musk
Additional Twitter employees were terminated Thursday as part of ongoing, rolling layoffs under new owner Elon Musk, including from the public policy and media and entertainment teams, according to tweets from affected employees.
As part of Thursday’s layoffs, the members of Twitter’s public policy team who had remained following last month’s mass layoffs were again cut down by about half to around 15 employees, a former Twitter employee with knowledge of the layoffs told CNN.
Among the public policy team’s responsibilities are working with outside advisory groups such as the Twitter Trust and Safety Council, which the company disbanded earlier this month. It also manages human rights programs to protect vulnerable users like activists, engages in transparency efforts, works with government agencies and helps to ensure compliance with global regulations. The public policy team had more than 60 employees prior to Musk’s takeover, the former employee said.
Thursday’s exits come after Musk laid off about half of Twitter’s workforce last month shortly after his takeover, and later pushed out additional employees, including through an ultimatum requiring them to work “hardcore” or exit the company. Musk’s team — seeking to cut costs at the struggling company that the billionaire purchased for $44 billion — has continued to lay off hundreds of additional Twitter staff since then, including top engineering and legal talent, according to the former employee and multiple recent reports.
More than 100 former Twitter employees have filed demands for arbitration or are participating in proposed class action lawsuits related to the layoffs.
The latest round of layoffs could further affect Twitter’s ability to protect key users and comply with regulations amid heightened scrutiny of the company following Musk’s takeover.
Thierry Breton, a top EU official, warned Musk in a meeting last month that the social media platform must take significant steps to comply with EU content moderation laws, and that European officials will be monitoring closely for compliance. Musk has agreed to let EU officials “stress test” the social media platform for compliance with the Digital Services Act, Europe’s new platform regulation, early next year.
Twitter also continues to struggle with the exit of many of its advertisers, which provide most of the company’s revenue. As of December 17, 72 of Twitter’s top 100 advertisers had paused ad campaigns on the platform, according to a review by digital marketing intelligence firm Pathmatics, which it provided to CNN.
In the meantime, Musk may be considering finding someone else to head the social platform, after Twitter users voted over the weekend for him to step down as CEO. Musk tweeted this week that he would leave the top role “as soon as I find someone foolish enough to take the job!”