Elon Musk plans to cut up to half of Twitter workforce

Elon Musk has drawn up plans to fire as much as half of Twitter’s 7,500-strong workforce, according to people familiar with the matter, in a major cost-cutting overhaul that could come by the end of the week.

The billionaire is looking to cut around 3,700 jobs at Twitter after his $44bn buyout of the social media company, two people said, although the exact figure could change. He also aims to mandate in-office work from Monday, reversing Twitter’s current policy, which allows staffers to work from anywhere, one of the people said.

The job losses are expected to take place on Friday, if not sooner, another person said. News of the plans was first reported by Bloomberg. Twitter could not be reached for comment.

Musk has already stamped his mark on Twitter since closing the acquisition a week ago, asking staffers to work around the clock on select projects.

On Wednesday, Musk announced one such project: Twitter plans to offer a premium $8 a month subscription service that will verify users, increase the visibility of their posts and allow them to see fewer advertisements.

He has also set in motion plans to significantly reduce headcount, after previously saying he could cut jobs and costs to make Twitter “healthy”.

At the end of last week, I have overhauled the management team, firing executives including Twitter chief Parag Agrawal. He brought in a small group of trusted advisers, including his personal lawyer Alex Spiro and venture capitalist David Sacks, to help him assess how to run the company.

Over the weekend, Musk asked some managers and advisers to pull together lists of whom to sack, according to people familiar with the matter, while several other leaders in the business, such as chief customer officer Sarah Personette, announced their resignations.

The cost-cutting measures come as Musk faces concerns from advertisers, the source of a majority of Twitter’s revenues, who worry that his plans to loosen content moderation rules on the platform will lead to a rise in inappropriate content.

In one email sent to a media agency this week and seen by the Financial Times, Twitter asked brands to “bear with us as we move through this transition”, adding that it had not changed its content moderation policies and sought to be “warm and welcome to all”.

In a call on Wednesday with top advertising spenders on Twitter, Musk told brands he planned to offer different tiers of content moderation, similar to a film rating system, according to three people familiar with the conversation. He also reassured those on the call he had no plans to do away with content moderation roles at the company, one of the people said.

However, Musk also appeared to dismiss marketers’ concerns on Wednesday, tweeting a poll that asked if advertisers should support free speech or political “correctness.”

Video: Elon Musk talks in a May interview with the FT about Twitter, Tesla and Trump

This article was changed to correct Sarah Personette’s job title from chief commercial officer to chief customer officer.

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