Elon Musk plans Twitter layoffs with a new team


SAN FRANCISCO – Members of billionaire Elon Musk’s inner circle rallied to the remaining senior Twitter executives throughout the weekend, conducting detailed discussions on the site’s approach to content moderation, as well as plans to lay off 25% of the force work to start.

Alex Spiro, a famous celebrity attorney who has represented Musk for several years, led those conversations. Spiro is taking an active role in managing several teams on Twitter, including legal, government relations, politics and marketing, according to four people familiar with the discussions who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe them, as well as the tweets. of some of the people involved.

Longtime Musk collaborators David Sacks and Jason Calcanis appeared in a corporate directory over the weekend, according to photos obtained by the Washington Post. Both had official company emails and their titles were “personnel software engineer”. Musk’s title in the directory was CEO, although that position has not been publicly announced. He refers to himself as “Twit Chief”.

Meanwhile, the team was deciding what should be a first round of layoffs, which will target around a quarter of staff totaling more than 7,000, according to one of the people. The layoffs will affect nearly all departments and in the coming days are expected to have a specific impact on sales, products, engineering, legal, trust and safety, the person said. After engineers, some of Twitter’s highest-paid employees work in sales, where many earn more than $ 300,000, according to documents viewed by The Post.

Elon Musk acquires Twitter and fires senior executives

Twitter, Musk, Spiro, Sacks and Calcanis did not respond to requests for comment.

The billionaire owner of Tesla bought Twitter for $ 44 billion last week after several tiring months of negotiation and legal wrangling. Musk first made an offer for the company in the spring, then tried to retire months later. Twitter sued to force him to complete the deal, and the entrepreneur eventually agreed and offered to buy the company for its original offering price.

Musk has turned to several longtime allies as he begins his Twitter review.

Sacks, a conservative fan and donor, has worked with Musk since they ran PayPal together two decades ago. Sacks posted strong ideas about content moderation online and criticized Big Tech’s censorship.

Calcanis is also a longtime friend of Musk who frequently texted him to offer advice on the deal, including job cuts, court documents showed.

The documents detail plans to gut Twitter’s workforce

Calacani tweeted that Saturday was “Day Zero” along with a photo of a Twitter coffee mug, adding that he had discussed security issues, along with bots and trolls, with Yoel Roth, a Twitter executive responsible for content moderation policy. Roth then posted details on those policies.

On Sunday, Musk posted apparent internal messages from Roth on Twitter metrics, claiming they show that Twitter’s board of directors and attorneys “deliberately withheld … evidence from the court.” The tweet showed Musk using his new access to inside information to settle scores.

The new leadership team is asking questions about every aspect of the business, including details on content moderation, spam and the risks of the upcoming elections, people said.

Another Musk associate who tweeted about his involvement, Sriram Krishnan, a cryptocurrency-focused partner at venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, also tweeted that he was helping with the deal. The company invested $ 400 million.

Less than three days into Musk’s ownership, Twitter employees remained in the dark about any new plans for the company as of Sunday evening, according to several employees contacted by The Post, who spoke on the condition of remain anonymous to protect their jobs. The company has not yet released a formal announcement of the acquisition. The communications department remained silent. Rumors swirled about the layoffs, with some notices coming out silently.

Twitter layoffs are imminent

The layoffs are expected to begin before November 1, when Twitter employees will receive additional compensation related to stock grants. On Sunday Musk tweeted that the report of upcoming layoffs on Twitter next week was “false.”

Earlier this year, Musk told potential partners in the deal that it planned to cut nearly 75 percent of Twitter’s total workforce, which would leave the company with around 2,000 employees, according to interviews and documents obtained by The Post. Last week Musk told employees when he visited Twitter that he had no plans to cut three-quarters of the workforce.

Another person familiar with the deal who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive issues last week said the total number of layoffs will likely be closer to 50%.

Musk has already fired four senior executives, dispatched Tesla engineers to evaluate Twitter’s software code, and tweeted that he intends to form an expert council for content moderation.

Meanwhile, illustrating the difficulties of his new task, Musk tweeted content from a site known for posting misinformation this weekend.

On Saturday, Hillary Clinton, the former first lady and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, posted a tweet criticizing the GOP for spreading “hate and deranged conspiracy theories” which claimed to have encouraged the man who attacked the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Paul, inside the couple’s home in San Francisco. start on Friday.

Musk wrote, in a reply to the tweet, that “There is a small chance that there may be more to this story than meets the eye”, sharing a link to an article in the Santa Monica Observer, a site described by fact-checkers as a source of low credibility in favor of the far right. The article claims, without evidence, that Paul Pelosi was drunk and in a fight with a male prostitute, referencing a conspiracy theory that had previously been spread to the right. Other right-wing influencers Musk interacted with online also amplified the conspiracy narrative.

Actions by Musk, who has since removed the tweet, show that Twitter has a complicated path to take, particularly in navigating Musk’s public actions and comparing it to what he says privately.

Rachel Lerman contributed to this report.