Why is Elon Musk laying off Twitter employees? What is this?

Why is Elon Musk laying off Twitter employees? Elon Musk said Twitter had “a lot of people doing things that didn’t seem to have a lot of value” before he executed mass layoffs at the social-media giant.

“I think that’s true probably at most Silicon Valley companies, maybe not to the degree to which it was at Twitter,” Musk said while speaking virtually at the Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council Summit in London on Tuesday.

“Twitter was in a situation where you’d have a meeting of 10 people and one person with an accelerator and nine with a set of brakes, so you didn’t go very far,” he said. Other Big Tech companies could make further job cuts without impacting productivity, Musk added.

Discourse has recently raged over the apparent “fake work” trend, with some executives and investors saying that tech companies overhired and gave people unnecessary jobs as a “vanity metric.” Proponents of the theory said this was why tech giants were slashing so many jobs.

 Elon Musk laying off Twitter employees

Why is Elon Musk laying off Twitter employees?

Billy Markus, co-creator of dogecoin and an ally of Musk, expressed disapproval of Musk’s tweets. In a since-deleted response to Markus, Musk said, “He’s the worst, sorry.”

After a Twitter user said he had worked with Thorleifsson directly and found his work ethic “next level,” Musk says he gave Thorleifsson a video call “to figure out what’s real vs what I was told.” Musk then apologized and suggested Thorleifsson was considering staying at Twitter.

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Matt Monette, U.K. and Ireland country lead at human resources platform Deel, said there was a “greater need for effective internal communications,” as tech layoffs increase while remote work is becoming more commonplace.

“If an employee is having to ask their boss via Twitter if they still have a job or not, something has clearly gone pretty wrong,” Monette told CNBC via email. “Employers must make sure they abide by the rules in different countries.”

The incident is one of the most bizarre developments to date in the saga surrounding Musk’s purchase of Twitter. Musk agreed to buy the social media site last year for $44 billion. He has since sought to cut costs dramatically in a bid to make it a profitable venture.

As part of that strategy, Musk laid off thousands of Twitter’s employees. It cut another 200 jobs last month, according to a report from The New York Times, taking its total staff count down to 2,000 from roughly 7,500 in October.

Elon Musk talks about Twitter layoffs

He stated, “There were a lot of people that didn’t seem to have a lot of value. I think that’s true at many Silicon Valley companies. I think there is the possibility for significant cuts at other companies without affecting their productivity, in fact increasing their productivity.”

He spoke about the reason he had to make huge job cuts just after buying Twitter for $44 billion last year. Musk said, “Twitter was in a situation where you’d have a meeting of ten people and one person with an accelerator and nine with a set of brakes.”

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However, he also said that Twitter will soon start hiring people again.

The Twitter CEO says that the company currently has around 1,500 employees which is “probably a reasonable number.” During Musk’s ongoing tenure, Twitter’s headcount has been reduced by over 80 per cent, from 7,500 to approximately 1,500 employees. This reduction was part of Musk’s strategy to cut costs and steer the company toward profitability.

Back in November 2022, when Twitter staff was rattled by mass layoffs and resignations, Musk sent a memo to its employees explaining how he wants his staff to work. As per a report by Wall Street Journal, the memo said, “We will need to be extremely hardcore. This will mean working long hours at high intensity. Only exceptional performance will constitute a passing grade.” He had even given them an ultimatum to sign a Google form agreeing to become a part of “Twitter 2.0” by 5 pm ET or be terminated. The affected employees were promised to get three months of severance.

During this time, several employees complained that they are working for over 12 hours and were not being paid for the overtime. Esther Crawford, who was later promoted to be the director of product management at Twitter, was seen sleeping in a sleeping bag on the floor in her office. However, she also parted ways with the company.

Elon Musk laying off Twitter employees

Employees sue Musk over lack of notice for firings

A handful of employees moved quickly to file a class action lawsuit Thursday in federal court in San Francisco on behalf of Twitter workers.

The case was filed preemptively, so Twitter’s workers wouldn’t be taken advantage of and sign away their rights, said the lead attorney on the case, Shannon Liss-Riordan.

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“There’s a lot of concern going on around Twitter employees about what would happen today when reportedly half the workforce would be let go,” she said.

The case alleges that Twitter is letting go of staff without adequate notice, in violation of California and federal employment law. The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification act, or WARN, requires at least a 60-day notice before conducting mass layoffs.

Liss-Riordan said employees learned on Friday they would get three months’ severance, which Musk later confirmed in a tweet.

Twitter employees use the platform to say goodbye with #LoveWhereYouWorked

Employees had been told to stay home on Friday and wait for an email about the future of their jobs. They tracked news from their colleagues under the hashtag #LoveWhereYouWorked.

They expressed gratitude to their teams and bosses, grieved for the company culture they enjoyed, and worried about colleagues who might lose health insurance or work visas.

Other Twitter users chimed in, calling Twitter employees “government stooges” and criticizing content moderation and policy decisions under the company’s previous leadership.

Musk has long complained about the size of Twitter’s staff, which was about 7,500. The company had ballooned in recent years, even as it struggled financially.

Musk fired many of Twitter’s top executives last week, including its CEO, chief financial officer and top lawyers. He also dissolved its board.

 Elon Musk laying off Twitter employees

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