Los Angeles: Twitter’s new owner Elon Musk has defended sacking about half the company’s workforce, saying he had “no choice” as Twitter was losing more than $4 million a day.
A tweet from Yoel Roth, Twitter’s head of safety and integrity, referred to “approximately 50 per cent cuts company-wide”, the BBC reported.
But Musk said the social media giant’s commitment to content moderation was “absolutely unchanged”.
Musk, the world’s richest man, took over Twitter in a $44bn deal.
The billionaire insisted in his own tweet that all those losing their jobs were offered three months of severance pay, “which is 50 per cent more than legally required”.
As reports emerged on Friday that thousands of staff at Twitter around the world were losing their jobs, questions were asked over the future of employees responsible for taking down harmful material, the BBC reported.
Online safety groups and campaigners have suggested Musk might relax moderation policies and reverse permanent Twitter bans given to controversial figures — including former US president Donald Trump.
These concerns were fuelled by Musk’s comments on Friday, which sought to blame Twitter’s “massive drop in revenue” on “activist groups” who were “trying to destroy free speech in America”.
But Roth’s tweet thread, posted later in the day, confirmed that most of the more than 2,000 content moderators working on “front-line review” were not impacted, the report said.
He said the “reduction in force” affected around 15 per cent of those working in Twitter’s trust and safety organisation — compared with what he said was a 50 per cent cut seen across the company.
Roth added that combating misinformation remained a “top priority” during the US midterm elections. Most Americans will vote on Tuesday, in a key test for Joe Biden’s presidency.
The President voiced his concern about the takeover on Friday, saying: “Elon Musk goes out and buys an outfit that sends – that spews lies all across the world… How do we expect kids to be able to understand what is at stake?”
As the scale of the job cuts became clear, notices provided by Twitter to officials in California revealed that around 983 staff were being laid off in that US state alone, the BBC reported.
It concerns 784 employees in San Francisco, 106 in San Jose and 93 in Los Angeles, according to filings seen by the BBC.