Nov 4, 2022 - Economy

Elon Musk clips Twitter's wings in week 1

Illustration of a blue feather floating downward

Illustration: Natalie Peeples/Axios

In his first week at Twitter's helm, Elon Musk has tossed out thousands of employees and scared away more advertisers.

Why it matters: Far from freeing the bird, it looks as though Musk has clipped its wings.

Details: The "TwitterLayoffs" hashtag trended on Friday in the United States. Attorneys, content moderation experts, and laid-off and current Twitter employees talked about the massive cuts Musk is making, while legal challenges over the firings are already underway.

  • About half of the company’s 7,500-person workforce are expected to lose their jobs, with one source familiar with the matter telling Axios the number could be higher for the comms department. (Musk famously dissolved Tesla's PR unit a few years ago.)
  • Alongside Musk's culling, more advertisers including General Mills and Pfizer said they would temporarily pause their spend as advocacy groups called on businesses to rethink their relationship with Twitter.
  • The NAACP, the Anti-Defamation League and dozens of other civil rights groups said they plan to escalate pressure on advertisers to boycott Twitter in the wake of the company's swift and sweeping layoffs and rise in hate speech.
  • Musk on Friday afternoon in New York seemed unfazed — despite acknowledging a "massive drop in revenue" — when he appeared at the Baron Investment Conference. He argued Twitter could become the most valuable company in the world one day and asked everyone in the crowd to "please" use Twitter.

The big picture: Twitter employees who have lost their jobs are facing a tough environment to find new work as the tech sector contracts.

What to watch: Musk reportedly brought in more than 50 of his most trusted Tesla software engineers this week to help him redesign Twitter.

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