Musk takeover | Twitter India sees significant layoffs; Musk blames ‘activists’ for revenue drop

“Everyone exited was offered 3 months of severance, which is 50% more than legally required,” Elon Musk tweeted

November 04, 2022 10:14 pm | Updated November 05, 2022 04:27 pm IST - New Delhi:

Elon Musk’s photo is seen through a Twitter logo in this illustration taken October 28, 2022. Twitter has fired the majority of its over 200 employees in India as part of mass layoffs across the globe ordered by its new owner Elon Musk who is looking to make his $44 billion acquisition work. File

Elon Musk’s photo is seen through a Twitter logo in this illustration taken October 28, 2022. Twitter has fired the majority of its over 200 employees in India as part of mass layoffs across the globe ordered by its new owner Elon Musk who is looking to make his $44 billion acquisition work. File | Photo Credit: Reuters

Twitter India team has been “significantly” impacted by the global layoffs at the social networking platform with the majority of the about 250-member team being fired, a week after Elon Musk acquired the company for $44 billion, according to sources.

The layoffs have impacted all business verticals in India, including marketing, communication and partnerships. While the exact number is not known, at least 50-60% of the staff have been let go. as per the source. The employees who have been retained are majorly in the sales operations.

“Regarding Twitter’s reduction in force, unfortunately there is no choice when the company is losing over $4M/day. Everyone exited was offered two months of severance, which is 50% more than legally required,” Mr. Musk tweeted.

The entire marketing and communications department in India has been sacked, the sources said.

Musk blames ‘activists’ for biz dip

Mr. Musk has blamed activists for a significant drop in the company’s revenues.

“Twitter has had a massive drop in revenue, due to activist groups pressuring advertisers, even though nothing has changed with content moderation and we did everything we could to appease the activists. Extremely messed up! They’re trying to destroy free speech in America,” he tweeted.As per internal plans reviewed by Reuters, Mr. Musk, the world’s richest person, is looking to cut around 3,700 Twitter staff, or about half the workforce, as he seeks to slash costs and impose a demanding new work ethic. Reuters added that Twitter Inc. temporarily closed its offices and cut workers’ access to internal systems on Friday after telling employees they would be informed by email about whether they were being laid off.

The company had posted a net loss of $270 million in the second quarter ended June 30, 2022 compared to a profit of $66 million in the same period a year ago.

The revenue of Twitter had declined to $1,176 million during the June 2022 quarter from $1,190 million a year ago. Advertisement revenue had increased by 2% to $1.08 billion while subscription and other revenue declined by 27% to $101 million on a year-over-year basis.

Also read | The shape of ‘Elon Musk vs Twitter’ story: how the saga unfolded 

A source in India said that while layoffs were expected, there is chaos given the lack of proper communication and the scale at which the layoffs have happened.

Following the takeover by Mr. Musk, several top executives at Twitter, including CEO Parag Agrawal and policy head Vijaya Gadde, were let go immediately.

This was followed by an exodus of top management. Mr. Musk has now started a massive exercise to downsize the company’s global workforce.

Employees barred from discussing confidential company information

As per the latest data available, India is the third-largest market for Twitter globally with 23.6 million users, behind only the U.S. and Japan.

Also read | A bird in the hand: On Twitter under Elon Musk

The U.S.-based social media platform, in an internal email to employees earlier, had said, “In an effort to place Twitter on a healthy path, we will go through the difficult process of reducing our global workforce on Friday.” It said that “everyone will receive an individual email”.

The company will temporarily close all offices for safety of employees as well as Twitter systems and customer data.

“If you are in an office or on your way to an office, please return home,” Twitter had said.

While Twitter had several run-ins with the government over freedom of speech, the company in the email barred employees from discussing confidential company information on social media, with the press or elsewhere.

The firm is reportedly laying off 3,738 people out of its total headcount of 7,500 across the globe.

Mr. Musk has also announced Twitter will charge $8 (around Rs 660) per month from verified (blue tick) accounts - triggering intense debate on the social media platform.

With inputs from PTI

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