Elon Musk has defended the layoff of half of Twitter’s 8,000 employees, saying that “unfortunately, there [was] no choice” due to the company’s financial losses.
“Regarding Twitter’s reduction in force, unfortunately there is no choice when the company is losing over $4M/day. Everyone [who] exited was offered 3 months of severance, which is 50% more than legally required,” tweeted Musk.
Contrary to popular expectations, Musk promised that “Twitter’s strong commitment to content moderation remains absolutely unchanged” and added that “hateful speech” on the platform had “declined below prior norms” since he took over the company.
Despite the mass layoffs, the platform’s 2000 content moderators were mostly “not impacted,” according to Twitter’s Head of Safety and Integrity Yoel Roth. He added that the daily volume of “moderation actions” is the same under Musk as it was under the previous leadership
As the midterms approach, Roth also stated that combatting “harmful misinformation that can suppress the vote” remains Twitter’s “top priority.”
Prior to the statements, Musk claimed that Twitter suffered a “massive drop in revenue” after “activist groups” pressured advertisers to leave the platform. He accused them of “trying to destroy free speech in America.”
Multiple leftist organizations, including Media Matters, NAACP, the National Center for Transgender Equality, and the Union of Concerned Scientists, recently wrote a letter calling on big corporations to “cease all advertising” on Twitter.
Some have already suspended ads on Twitter, including Pfizer, Volkswagen, Mondelez International, General Mills, Ford, General Motors, and United Airlines.
President Joe Biden accused Musk of “buying an outfit that sends and spews lies all across the world” during a fundraiser in Illinois on Friday night.
“How do we expect kids to be able to understand what is at stake? What is at stake? So there’s a lot going on, a lot going on. But we have an enormous opportunity, enormous opportunity,” said Biden.
Even though Musk offered a 3-month severance to all laid-off workers, four employees filed a federal lawsuit against Twitter for not giving them a 60-day notice before laying them off.
On his first day as head of Twitter, Musk fired former CEO Parag Agrawal and the entire board of directors. Musk’s new plans for Twitter include adding an $8 monthly subscription for verified users, which should be implemented “asap” to “make up for the lost revenue.”