Twitter is expected to see sweeping changes following Elon Musk’s acquisition of the company, with layoffs expected to hit nearly 50 per cent of the workforce. The first target is likely to be legal, trust, and safety, the organization that sets policy and oversees content moderation, according to people familiar with the situation.
Managers in information security and privacy are also among those drawing up lists of people to lay off, said one of the people familiar with the discussion.
According to the news source, the layoffs were likely to happen before Tuesday, Nov. 1, when employees are set to receive stock grants, cutting them off from the compensation they had expected to receive.
Throughout the weekend, Twitter employees waited anxiously for the next shoe to drop, searching for news of who might be fired and how their jobs would change under Musk.
Musk has a reputation as a fierce manager who is quick to replace underperformers and gives, at times to “rage firings.” But he also is revered for a unique ability to attract talent to companies engaged in potentially world-changing missions around climate change and space exploration, among others.
On Friday, Musk used Twitter to communicate with the outside world, addressing the account of Ye, the rapper and fashion designer formerly known as Kanye West, whose account privileges were limited after he posted antisemitic remarks.
Internally, Musk is in the process of assessing the company and its talent, according to a person familiar with his plans.
Musk wants to maintain the best talent Twitter has to offer even as he has deputized members of his team, including recruits from Tesla and SpaceX, to help him gain a better understanding of the ins and outs of Twitter.
As part of that process, some Twitter engineers received a calendar invite Friday telling them to “stop printing, and please be ready to show your recent code” written in the last 30 to 60 days on their computers.
Immediately upon taking over the company, Musk fired CEO Parag Agrawal; Chief Financial Officer Ned Segal; Vijaya Gadde, head of legal, public policy, trust and safety; and general counsel Sean Edgett.
Since the incident, many of Twitter’s employees have worried about meeting a similar situation. The deadline for Musk to complete the acquisition was Friday afternoon, meaning the Thursday takeover was a surprise to employees in the New York and San Francisco offices — some of whom were already dressed in costumes for company Halloween parties when they suddenly received the news.
This acquisition will likely bring significant changes to how more than 200 million daily users experience the site. With layoffs expected to be broad, it remains to be seen how Twitter will adapt under new ownership.