Elon Musk told potential investors on Twitter that he planned to eliminate about 75% of the social media platform’s 7,500 employees.
Such a move would leave Twitter with about 2,000 employees, not nearly enough to deal with the flood of spam, hate and misinformation on the platform, according to a report in the Washington Post.
However, Twitter itself was already thinking of laying off about 25% of its employees and closing key data centers even before the billionaire Tesla founder came on the scene, WaPo said.
A Twitter spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.
Musk is not exaggerating, and comments to potential financial partners are not necessarily a blueprint for the future, as he approaches the October 28 deadline to complete the acquisition. But he has spoken publicly about downsizing Twitter, without specifics. A steep cut could pose dangers as the platform already struggles with the scope of global content moderation. Recent headlines have focused the potential recovery on former President Donald Trump’s service and anti-Semitic messages from rapper Kanye West.
Whistleblower Peiter Zatko partially described an organization that needed more resources, not less.
Musk said during an earnings call from Tesla yesterday that he and the current investors going into the deal with him are paying way too much for the company, but that he sees “huge potential” and great value in (a leaner?) Twitter down the road.
It may not be long before Musk’s plans are revealed. Negotiations are underway and he must close the deal by next week’s deadline to avoid trial in the Delaware Chancery Court. “I’m excited about the Twitter situation,” he said yesterday in one of the first positive comments about the purchase in many months.
Musk agreed to buy Twitter in April and returned in July. Twitter filed a lawsuit and the two sides were engaged in a battle with a court date on October 17. The bitterness cooled somewhat after Musk renewed his bid for the original price — of $44 billion or $54.20 a share — and a judge postponed the trial to give the deal another chance.