The Washington Post: Musk Plans Massive Layoffs at Twitter

The Washington Post:

Twitter’s workforce is likely to be hit with massive cuts in the coming months, no matter who owns the company, interviews and documents obtained by The Washington Post show, a change likely to have major impact on its ability to control harmful content and prevent data security crises.

Elon Musk told prospective investors in his deal to buy the company that he planned to get rid of nearly 75 percent of Twitter’s 7,500 workers, whittling the company down to a skeleton staff of just over 2,000.

Even if Musk’s Twitter deal falls through — and there’s little indication now that it will — big cuts are expected: Twitter’s current management planned to pare the company’s payroll by about $800 million by the end of next year, a number that would mean the departure of nearly a quarter of the workforce, according to corporate documents and interviews with people familiar with the company’s deliberations. The company also planned to make major cuts to its infrastructure, including data centers that keep the site functioning for more than 200 million users that log on each day.

I’ve had a few friends and sources inside Twitter over the years, and I’ve long heard that Twitter is vastly overstaffed. There’s just no reason for Twitter to have so many employees given the scope of what they offer today. And it’s ossifying for a company culture to carry a lot of dead weight. But Twitter has had a hiring freeze for the last six months, and roughly 25 percent of employees have left in the last year — so their headcount is quite a bit smaller today than it was before Musk launched his takeover bid.

I suspect they’re still overstaffed. But a further 75 percent reduction would be cutting with a machete, not a scalpel. Maybe a machete is what Twitter needs, I don’t know, but if this is the plan Musk pursues, it’s drastic. It’s also possible that Musk is floating this drastic proposal now so that a big staff reduction — but far smaller than 75 percent — will taste more palatable when it comes.

Friday, 21 October 2022