‘Unfortunately, there is no choice’: Elon Musk defends culling Twitter staff

Elon Musk, Tesla CEO, attends the opening of the Tesla factory Berlin Brandenburg in Gruenheide, Germany, March 22, 2022. Musk is already floating major changes for Twitter — and faces major hurdles as he begins his first week as owner of the social-media platform. Twitter's new owner fired the company's board of directors and made himself the board's sole member, according to a company filing Monday, Oct. 31, 2022. Pic: AP

Elon Musk has defended sacking half of Twitter’s 8,000 workers, saying “unfortunately, there is no choice”.

Mr Musk insisted that the platform’s commitment to moderation remained “absolutely unchanged”.

He tweeted: “Regarding Twitter’s reduction in force, unfortunately there is no choice when the company is losing over $4m a day.

“Everyone exited was offered three months of severance, which is 50% more than legally required.”

Earlier on Friday, Mr Musk blamed activists for falling revenue, tweeting: “Twitter has had a massive drop in revenue, due to activist groups pressuring advertisers, even though nothing has changed with content moderation and we did everything we could to appease the activists.

“Extremely messed up! They’re trying to destroy free speech in America.”

One Twitter user said revenues were falling because Twitter has “the worst ad platform of any social media company”, to which Musk replied: “Agreed. Working on it.”

Just minutes before Mr Musk’s tweets, Twitter head of safety and integrity Yoel Roth said the lay-offs had affected 50% of the company, including approximately 15% of the trust and safety department.

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He said frontline moderation staff had experienced “the least impact”.

The company had moved to reassure staff last month that there were no plans for mass redundancies after it was reported that Mr Musk wanted to make 75% of the workforce redundant after his $44bn (£38.4bn) takeover.

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