Twitter Layoff Speculation Looms Amid Musk Takeover


Twitter logo with Elon Musk account in background | Image by Shutterstock

Now that Elon Musk’s on-again-off-again Twitter deal is back on, the billionaire’s every move is under scrutiny. Most recently, The Washington Post reported that the technology entrepreneur was planning massive layoffs at Twitter, comprising 75% of its staff.

Job cuts of that size would leave Twitter with approximately 2,000 employees.

Musk, Twitter’s biggest shareholder, has not said much about the pending deal lately, leaving Twitter’s staff in the dark about what is to come.

Twitter has responded in an attempt to allay any fears that its employees may be experiencing.

The company, in a statement cited by Bloomberg, said, “We do not have any confirmation of the buyer’s plans following close and recommend not following rumors or leaked documents but rather wait for facts from us and the buyer directly.”

Among potential imminent changes, Musk has expressed a desire to transform Twitter from a publicly traded to a privately held entity. He believes that in order for the social media platform to support free speech and overcome censorship, changes must be made, the chief among which is bringing Twitter private.

Staff members fear their compensation will take a hit as a result, according to The New York Times, even though Musk has promised to maintain compensation and benefits for Twitter’s staff for one year. Some employees receive discretional pay in the form of equity shares in Twitter, but as a private entity, these allotments would instead take the form of cash.

Musk has come under fire for his Twitter plans, with some bemoaning his desire for change.

Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich criticized, “When multi-billionaires take control of our most vital platforms for communication, it’s not a win for free speech. It’s a win for oligarchy.” He pointed to Musk’s acquisition of Twitter and Jeff Bezos’ ownership of The Washington Post as examples.

A handful of Twitter employees have apparently already jumped ship since Musk first revealed his intentions to buy. A trio of senior executives including a pair of vice presidents reportedly left the company back in May amid uncertainty about Twitter’s future direction.

Musk has also revealed his intentions to name a new CEO at the company.

His Twitter buyout is nearing the finish line, with a court setting an October 28 deadline for the $44 billion mega-deal after months of litigation between the two parties.

The billionaire is closing the deal amid what he expects is a global recession right around the corner. In a tweet, Musk guessed that a global recession could persist until the spring of 2024 and said, “It sure would be nice to have one year without a horrible global event.”

He is not alone: Fellow billionaire Jeff Bezos recently tweeted that the “probabilities in this economy tell you to batten down the hatches.”

According to Crunchbase, the technology industry has laid off over 44,000 employees so far this year across companies like Netflix, investing app Robinhood, and homeownership app Better. Layoffs have also hit Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta, the parent company of Facebook, where over 160 shuttle drivers were let go in Menlo Park, California amid the shift to a hybrid work model.

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