Musk has previously gestured at plans for layoffs if he were to buy Twitter, but those cuts could go even deeper than previously imagined.
According to a new report from the Washington Post, Musk plans to purge 75% of Twitter’s workforce, or around 5,600 employees. If Musk’s vision for a much leaner platform comes to fruition, Twitter would be forced to operate with a sliver of its current staff.
Between broader economic factors and ongoing criticisms that Twitter has failed to deliver on its promise (at least as far as investors are concerned), Twitter was always going to trim its workforce. But cutting the staff down by three quarters isn’t what most people had in mind. The Post noted that Twitter already planned to cut around a quarter of its workforce — but leaving a quarter of the workforce is a different situation altogether.
A grain of salt is necessary here. While Musk reportedly described his aggressive plan over the past few months, there’s often a gulf between his words and the reality of the situation. Musk might want to lay off 75% of Twitter’s workforce — what dollar-signs-for-eyes investor or CEO wouldn’t want to make more money with fewer pesky salaries to pay! — but it’s also conceivable that Twitter wouldn’t even be able to operate if cut to the bone.
Musk clearly lacks a fundamental understanding of some serious issues the company faces, some of which could only be resolved by more investment in key areas. The SpaceX and Tesla CEO was keen to lean on Twitter’s former head of security turned whistleblower Peiter Zatko when it suited him, but some of the dire security and safety needs that Zatko brought up certainly wouldn’t be resolved by gutting the whole company. Musk also barely has a grasp of the content moderation issues the company grapples with, another area that benefits from having more humans involved — not just a thrifty algorithm at the wheel. Certainly, and sadly, trust and safety would likely face deep cuts if Musk has his way.
It’s also totally plausible that the 75% number is just another trick he pulled out of his hat to impress whoever he was talking to, maybe bankers he was courting for the acquisition or the various slavering rich men he texts with. For the sake of Twitter’s already very stressed current workforce, we definitely hope that winds up being the case.
The deal, which is now to back on track after months of Musk sowing chaos, is expected to close by October 28.