ALBAWABA — Twitter laid off at least 200 staff in another round of cuts late Saturday night, according to a New York Times report, even though Elon Musk had told employees in an internal meeting in late November that there were no more plans to reduce staff.
As with previous Twitter layoffs under new owner Musk, employees reported receiving little to no advance notice, with many finding out they had been terminated after being locked out of their company email accounts and laptops.
With the fresh round of layoffs that included product managers, big data experts and engineers working on machine learning and platform reliability, the company now has a workforce of less than 2,000, down from 7,500 when Musk took over in October.
As staff learned of their fate, Musk tweeted: "Hope you have a good Sunday. First day of the rest of your life."
Haraldur Thorleifsson, the creator of the design studio Ueno, which Twitter purchased in 2021, worked as an employee at Twitter, where he was an active user and commentator, found out about his layoff when he was no longer able to log into his workstation with his Twitter credentials, according to Iceland’s Morgunblaðið newspaper.
"Two years. Learned some things. Met some great new friends. Did some good work. Laughed a lot. Cried a little. No regrets," Thorleifsson tweeted on Saturday.
Along with members of his team, Martin de Kuijper, the founder of newsletter platform Revue that Twitter acquired in January 2021 was among those laid off.
De Kuijper tweeted on Saturday that it "looks like I'm let go" after he could no longer access his emails while on a skiing holiday in the French Alps.
Esther Crawford, Twitter’s former director of product management, who co-founded a screen-sharing and video chat app called Squad that Twitter bought in December 2020, was one of the few remaining Twitter executives from before Musk's take over, confirmed that she was also let go.
As the former head of the Twitter Blue verification program, Crawford had been a staunch supporter of Musk and the company.
"The worst take you could have from watching me go all-in on Twitter 2.0 is that my optimism or hard work was a mistake," she tweeted on Sunday morning, remembering the days when she was overly dedicated and slept at her workplace in a show of loyalty.
Ever since Musk took ownership of Twitter, the platform has experienced a series of critical issues like the return of thousands of banned accounts, the chaos of mass layoffs, the falling apart of copyright detection and moderation and the influx of mis/disinformation that saw major advertisers flee.
"Right now, you would have to be an idiot to advertise on Twitter," technology analyst Rob Enderle of Enderle Group told Agence France-Presse, discussing the potential for marketing messages to appear near vile or harmful tweets.
"There is just too much downside risk of damaging your brand and alienating your customers, " Enderle added.
More than half of Twitter's top 1,000 advertisers in September were no longer spending on the platform in January, according to Sensor Tower, a leading marketing intelligence company.
Musk has tried to promote subscriptions as a new way to bring in cash and wean Twitter off its dependence on advertising as a revenue stream.
As of mid-January, results have been disappointing, with only 180,000 of monthly active users in the United States paying for Twitter, which accounts for less than 0.2 percent of active users, according to technology industry-focused business publication The Information.
Meanwhile, Musk encourages users to communicate more freely on Twitter and says the site imposes the least amount of censorship allowed by law, creating more problems for the microblogging site.
"It’s as though Elon Musk is on a whirlwind tour to try to put Twitter out of business," Enderle said. "All he has to do is keep quiet, but he has to constantly spout stuff that alienates advertisers."
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