Yesterday, Friday, Twitter began a major layoffs campaign, informing each employee individually via e-mail whether he would stay or leave, and prevented employees from entering the offices and on the site’s internal systems overnight, according to the Emirati statement.
The move comes after a week of chaos and uncertainty over the company’s future under new owner Elon Musk, the world’s richest person, who tweeted on Friday that the platform is experiencing a “massive drop in revenue” as advertisers withdraw their funding.
Musk blamed the losses on a coalition of civil rights groups that had been pressing Twitter’s top advertisers to take action if it did not protect the existing content moderation mechanism. On Friday, the groups said they would step up pressure and demand that brands pull their ads on Twitter globally.
The company sent an e-mail to employees on Thursday evening, announcing its intention to lay off employees on Friday.
“In an effort to put Twitter on the right track, we will go through the difficult process of reducing our workforce globally on Friday,” said a message last Thursday, seen by Reuters.
The company has been silent about the extent of the layoffs, although internal plans seen by Reuters this week indicate that Musk is looking to lay off about 3,700 Twitter employees, about half of the company’s workforce, as he seeks to cut costs and impose new business rules.
Employees who worked in engineering, communications, product management, content management and machine learning ethics were among those affected by the layoffs, according to tweets from Twitter employees.
Shannon Raj Singh, a lawyer and former acting director of Twitter’s human rights department, tweeted Friday that the company’s entire human rights team had been laid off.
Musk promised to restore freedom of expression to the site while preventing Twitter from descending into “hell.” However, his reassurances failed to placate major advertisers who for months had expressed concerns about his control of the micro-blogging platform.
Volkswagen said on Friday it was recommending its brands pause paid advertising on Twitter until further notice in the wake of Musk’s acquisition of the company.
Other companies have reported similar actions, including General Motors and General Mills, and Musk tweeted that his team had made no changes to the content and had done “everything we could” to please the groups.
“They are so corrupt! They (civil rights groups) are trying to destroy freedom of expression in America,” he added. Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.