Elon Musk plans to lay off around half of Twitter’s workforce on Friday as part of a cost-cutting measure, according to a new Bloomberg News. Musk had denied reports that he was going to lay off 75% of workers Last week when he first visited Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters, trying to appease the social media company’s anxious workers. But laying off 50% of staff, which equates to around 3,700 people, is still a deep cut.
The exact number of laid-off employees could still change and the amount of severance pay to be offered is still being determined, according to Bloomberg, but one scenario involves workers receiving 60 days’ pay. California law requires large employers to give 60 days notice for such a massive downsizingso it’s not clear if Musk is trying to circumvent the spirit of the law by calling it 60 days of “breakup.”
Musk also plans to institute a new requirement that all employees come into the office., reversing Twitter’s flexible work-from-anywhere approach instituted at the start of the covid-19 pandemic. Musk previously said that people who work from home are just pretending to work and that Twitter employees have started sleeping in the office to meet the billionaire’s tight deadlines, according to photos posted on social media.
Musk grossly overpaid for Twitter to the tune of $44 billion, a deal he tried to withdraw but was forced to finalize after Twitter filed a lawsuit against the billionaire. Since taking the helm, Musk has been desperately trying to find a way to increase Twitter’s revenue while cutting costs.
One idea for making quick money, which has been playing out publicly on Twitter, is to charge a subscription fee for verification on the platform. The so-called blue tick has long been an obsession of some right-wing influencers who believe it confers some sort of special status, when in fact it was implemented in an effort to combat the usurpation of identities of celebrities and others who may be stalked on the Platform.
After much public discussion of the subject, Musk appears to have landed on $8 as the magic number to charge for verification, but it remains to be seen how many people will actually sign up for the program. The new paid verification model could be rolled out as early as Monday, according to Bloombergalthough currently verified users will likely have several months before their badges are removed for non-payment.
Bloomberg is quick to note that plans for Twitter’s new verification model could change, according to anonymous Twitter employees who helped leak the information. And while the reports don’t mention the reason, it seems obvious that Elon Musk doesn’t really have a grand plan to change Twitter, but rather a desire to get things done quickly, however haphazard the process.
But for all of Musk’s stated desires to dramatically change Twitter, behind the scenes he has relied on proven methods to tackle content moderation in the social media space. The billionaire has met with civil rights groups to discuss moderation issues, a step similar to what Facebook has done in the past when the New York Times points out. And news of the meetings did not go down well with right-wing Twitter users who were previously very happy to hear that Musk was taking over the company. In fact, several neo-Nazi accounts on the platform expressed their outrage on Wednesday in the extremely racist and anti-Semitic way one would expect.
For his part, Musk seems to be happy to bother people – supposedly “both left and right simultaneously” as he put it in a recent tweet – although he seems to believe that means he does a good job of managing Twitter. It’s a bit like poisoning the city’s water supply and taking pride in having made everyone mad at you. Dropping poison in the water was just a stupid move to begin with.
This all recalls a tweet sent by pseudonymous user Travis View just days ago that turned out to be the most prophetic version of Musk’s takeover.
“Elon has joined the ranks of the most loved and admired people on the internet: mod forum”, View tweeted.
In effect. There is no one more respected on the internet than moderators. Good luck Elon. You are going to need it.