Elon Musk has fired half of the Twitter employees. And it affects you too – News

 Elon Musk has fired half of the Twitter employees.  And it affects you too - News

What happened?

Twitter announced Friday the layoff of “about 50%” of its nearly 7,500 employees worldwide, a week after the platform was acquired by the world’s richest man, Elon Musk.

“About 50% of the workforce will be affected” by the layoffs at the California company, according to documents that reached the press, confirming the new owner’s intention to restructure the company in its image.

The owner of SpaceX and Tesla, who bought Twitter for $44 billion, had already dissolved the company’s board of directors, fired its CEO and other executives.

The layoffs also started to be reported during the week, but not of this magnitude. But it wasn’t just the number of layoffs that raised eyebrows, it was the way they happened.


It was by surprise. It started when thousands of Twitter employees were asked to stay at home after a temporary office closure.

While they were at home, a wave of layoffs followed, and the California company communicated its decision to every employee via email.

“As previously announced, Twitter is reducing its workforce to improve the health of the business. These decisions are never easy and it is with regret that we write to inform you that your role at Twitter has been compromised. Today (Friday) ) is your last day at work,” reads one of the messages sent to employees.

Before that, however, some employees had already discovered that they had been laid off, using the platform themselves to say goodbye to their colleagues.

“I don’t have a job,” former employee Blake Herzinger wrote, for example, while others reported losing access to the company’s servers and email accounts.

But doesn’t buying mean more money?

Not necessary. It will be recalled that Musk withdrew from the purchase and was forced to proceed by a court decision because he already had a pre-contract. And to fund the Twitter purchase, Musk borrowed heavily from the company, whose financial health was already fragile in its own right, posting significant losses in the first two quarters of the year.

To complete the purchase, the tycoon took out $13 billion in loans — and this is the most important part — that will have to be paid by Twitter, not him.

The billionaire also sold about $15.5 billion worth of Tesla stock and pledged bonds from his automaker as collateral for other loans worth $12.5 billion.

In total, the layoffs will save $400 million a year, the company confirmed today. That’s why the resignation letters also stated that Twitter is going through an “incredibly challenging” moment. “We recognize that this will affect many people who have made valuable contributions to Twitter, but unfortunately this action is necessary to ensure the company’s future success.”

And now?

Times do indeed appear to be “incredibly challenging” for Twitter, partly due to the current situation, partly due to the way Musk immediately started making changes to the company.

Before the purchase alone, Musk had made promises to make Twitter a more free speech social network — which, given the current political polarization scenario, especially in the US, seemed to mean less control over speeches. hateful.

Additionally, Musk suggested he reinstate blocked accounts, such as those of former US President Donald Trump — remember, the Republican tycoon was ousted shortly after his supporters invaded the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.

Musk immediately said he would form a committee to evaluate future Twitter usage policies, especially with regard to the moderation of published content and the said reinstatement of blocked accounts. Coincidence or not, when the purchase was made, a spike was observed in publications using sexist or racist language.

In addition, the need to get money quickly to fill the social network’s financial hole has resulted in Musk having to deal with proposals that were poorly received by a significant percentage of users. Most controversial is the possible launch of an eight dollar per month subscription for users who want to have their account verified, among other benefits.

What’s the problem?

Twitter’s current identity verification system is free – to get the blue badge next to your name, you need to prove your identity to the social networking team.

However, this is a service provided only to public figures whose authenticity must be guaranteed – ranging from politicians, doctors, researchers and journalists to artists and celebrities. Basically, for example, it is a way for anyone to create an account pretending to be the president of the US.

Where does this hit me?

Musk has resorted to the argument that this system creates “elites” in the Twitter community on the one hand and allows the spread of bots and fake accounts on the other, claiming that with this subscription, he encourages the ordinary user to continue. proceed with the verification. But your solution could cause even more problems

As Vox explains in this article, the proposed new verification system only requires payment, not identity verification. As such, it will eventually be possible for anyone to impersonate anyone else, as long as they pay eight dollars a month.

The problem is compounded by the fact that this new system also ensures that those who subscribe to the subscription have priority in searches – that is, their tweets appear before those of unverified accounts – and in the comments in threads that are usually generated between calls.

This one cocktail it could at worst mean the spread of fake accounts that spread misinformation pretending to be real because of the verification system or, at best, create a system equally dissimilar to the current one, promoting only bad faith users who pay for the privilege.

Anyway, even if you don’t have a Twitter account, it can affect your life in more unpredictable ways than you might think, since most political communication these days takes place through this platform – and it’s where a lot of news spreads. Just think of the influence Donald Trump had while he still had an account on this social network.

And these changes can even be financially counterproductive.


Faced with this mix of increased hostile speech on the platform with the possibility that the new verification system could completely change the dynamics on the platform, major companies such as General Motors and Volkswagen have shut down their ads on Twitter.

Advertising is Twitter’s main source of income, and Musk has tried to calm things down by ensuring the platform doesn’t become “hell for everyone.”

But today it pointed to a new target, criticizing the “groups of activists who pressure advertisers, even though nothing has changed regarding content moderation and we have done everything we can to appease them,” he wrote in a tweet today. “It’s crazy! They are trying to destroy free speech in the United States,” he added.

While the chaos promises to continue to rage on Twitter, there are already users turning to other social networks: Mastodon, for example, soared to 655,000 users this week.