Twitter is gearing up for layoffs no matter whether Elon Musk purchases the company, which could happen as soon as this Friday, according to a report from The Washington Post.
On one hand, Musk has told prospective investors that he plans to axe 75 percent of the Twitter’s 7,500-member staff upon completion of the deal, a move that would likely cripple the site’s operations and kneecap its ability to moderate content and ensure users’ security. On the other hand, internal documents obtained by The Post reveal that, prior to the Musk deal, current company leadership planned to “pare the company’s payroll” by around $800 million, a relatively modest 25 percent reduction in the workforce that would only see around 1,900 people left unemployed, along with “major” infrastructure cuts and data center closures.
Musk’s cuts would be “unimaginable” Edwin Chen, a data scientist formerly in charge of Twitter’s spam and health metrics, told The Post. “It would be a cascading effect,” he said, “where you’d have services going down and the people remaining not having the institutional knowledge to get them back up, and being completely demoralized and wanting to leave themselves.”
When asked about potential layoffs at a Twitter Town Hall meeting in June, Musk came out in favor of staffing cuts, arguing that he didn’t see why low-performing workers should remain employed. Musk has also advocated for loosening content moderation restrictions and allowing formerly banned accounts to be reactivated.
EDIT 10/21/22 2AM ET: According to Bloomberg News, Twitter General Counsel Sean Edgett told staff that discussions about cost savings happened earlier this year and that they stopped “once the merger agreement was signed.” Edgett added that there have been no plans for companywide layoffs since then.