After buying Twitter late last year, Elon Musk laid off thousands of employees to mitigate excess expenses. Musk also revealed that Twitter employs roughly 1,500 workers, down from 8,500 employees before his takeover. However, Musk said that not all past employees got laid off, but some left voluntarily. It was due to employees in the top and mid-senior roles refusing to conform to his “hardcore” work culture involving endless hours of duty. Months after his takeover, Musk has revealed what it is like running Twitter, a sizeable social media platform used by the world’s most important and renowned politicians and leaders, with just 1,500 employees.
During an interview with Fox News, Musk reiterated that Twitter was overstaffed and could not function like a non-profit organisation. He adds, “It turns out you don’t need all that many people to run Twitter. If you’re not trying to run some sort of glorified activist organisation and you do not care that much about censorship, then you can really let go of a lot of people.”
When asked whether other CEOs have taken the advice to downsize the workforce, specifically when tech companies are mass laying off workers and amid poor macroeconomic conditions, Musk suggests that he spends most of his time at work and not interacting with other CEOs. He again justified mass Twitter layoffs by saying that the company under the previous management did not create new products.
Musk states, “If you look at what has been the product development over time with Twitter, you know years versus product improvements, it’s like a pretty flat line. It took a year to add an edit button that doesn’t work most of the time. It was a comedy situation here. You’re not making cars. The real question is how did it get sort of absurdly overstaffed, this is insane.”
Currently, Twitter mainly includes employees in the product and engineering divisions. The company has fired workers in the HR and public relations teams.
Since his takeover in late November last year, Musk has repeatedly stated that he wants Twitter to be a platform for free speech and fairness. Musk reintroduced the Twitter Blue subscription with a key feature. Users who subscribe to Twitter’s Blue subscription will be verified automatically, which could be a game changer once legacy blue badges are removed from April 20.
However, Musk is still struggling to boost the company’s revenue. In a separate interview, he revealed the company lost some advertisers after the takeover. The Wall Street Journal reported last year that Twitter’s revenue and adjusted earnings fell about 40 per cent year over year in December 2022.