Twitter Inc. might soon see much of its workforce depleted, according to a report by the Washington Post today.
The report, which was based on interviews and internal documents, suggests Musk told prospective investors that his plan was to cull much of Twitter’s 7,500-person workforce. The Musk buyout is still not a done deal, but it seems it will likely go through.
Much has happened since Musk first talked about his acquisition, including his pledge that under him, Twitter will be a different kind of beast. Still, getting rid of three-quarters of the staff comes as a surprise.
Perhaps the clue to this coming was when Chief Executive Parag Agrawal said in a letter in May that Twitter wanted to go in a “different direction.” At the time, two executives left the company, and Agrawal said Twitter would not be focusing on hiring new staff but instead just embracing change. He added that there wouldn’t be companywide layoffs.
It seems that is now going to happen and, according to the Post, it will happen if the Musk deal goes through or if it doesn’t. Musk has until Oct. 28 to finalize the buyout. Regardless of what Agrawal said in May, it seems that Twitter had planned to start laying off staff before any mention of the Musk acquisition. The documents state that Twitter had planned to cut 25% of staff and scrape off around $800 million from payroll costs.
The concern is what happens when a company is suddenly turned into the bare bones of what it used to be. What will that mean for security issues, for instance? According to the former hacker and former Twitter security boss, Peiter “Mudge” Zatko, Twitter has enough problems already when it comes to security. He has been highly critical of his old firm, turning into something of a whistleblower.
Twitter has claimed it fired Zatko over performance issues, but Zakto has said it was because he pointed out how monstrously inadequate Twitter’s security was. Just as Musk was questioning the number of bots on Twitter, Zatko came out and said Twitter’s security showed “extreme, egregious deficiencies.” That ended with a court date and Zatko backing up Musk’s contention that Twitter was a security nightmare.
Right now, Twitter employees don’t know what to do. They recently received news from one of the company lawyers who told them he could not confirm the mass culling. With what has been going on over the last few months, it seems they now feel the ground is constantly moving beneath them. According to The Post, human resources staff at Twitter told employees there isn’t going to be a cull, but it seems that whatever staff are told these days is rather protean.
Photo: Alexander Shatov/Unsplash
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