Elon Musk has defended firing half of Twitter’s 8,000 employees, saying “unfortunately, there is no choice.”
Musk insisted that the platform’s commitment to moderation “has not changed at all.”
He tweeted: “Regarding the layoffs at Twitter, unfortunately, when the company is losing more than $4 million a day, there is no choice.
“Everyone who quit was given three months of severance pay, which was 50 per cent higher than required by law.”
Just minutes before Musk’s tweet, Twitter’s head of security and integrity, Yoel Roth, confirmed that the layoffs affected 50% of the company’s workforce, including about 15% of its trust and safety unit.
Frontline auditors experienced “minimal impact”, he added.
Mr Musk retweeted the tweet, calling it an “excellent summary”.
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The words were meant to reassure users, who feared that Musk’s takeover and job loss would undermine audit and security teams and make the platform lawless.
This is especially important ahead of the U.S. midterm elections, where Twitter has been accused of being a factor in the spread of disinformation and abuse.
Jessica González, co-CEO of Free Press, said: “When you’re reportedly laying off 50% of your staff — including the team that actually tracks, monitors and enforces content moderation and rules — it It must mean a change in content moderation. . . ”
Elimination of the whole team
Several employees tweeted about job losses, saying Twitter had eliminated teams focused on human rights and global conflict, another team checking algorithms for biases that amplify tweets, and a team working to make it easier for people with disabilities. Access to the platform’s engineering team.
The company has Reassure employees last month Mr Musk reportedly wants to cut 75% of his workforce following the $44bn (£38.4bn) takeover, so there are no plans for mass layoffs.
But Musk fired a number of executives, including CEO Parag Agrawal, and sacked the company’s board of directors on his first day as owner.
lawsuit brought by former employee
Employees were later told they would find out about their futures on Friday, with some getting early clues after losing access to their work accounts.
Four former employees have filed at least one lawsuit alleging Twitter violated federal law by failing to give the required notice to fired employees, according to the Associated Press.
Musk could also be open to discrimination allegations if it turns out that certain groups are disproportionately affected, such as women, people of color or older workers.
‘Such a massive layoff’ requires ‘very careful’
Employment attorney Peter Rahbar told The Associated Press that most employers are “very careful in making layoffs of this magnitude” so that they have justification and don’t unfairly discriminate or bring unnecessary attention to the company .
“For some reason he seems to want to fire half the company without any due diligence on what these people do or who they are, and without regard to the law.”
In the UK, Twitter is required by law to give employees notice, according to Emma Bartlett, employment and partnership law partner at CM Murray LLP.
Failure to notify the government in the event of mass dismissals could lead to “criminal penalties”, she said, adding that whether criminal sanctions were ever imposed was another question.