Musk Denies Cutting Twitter Jobs To Avoid Payouts

Twitter’s new owner Elon Musk has refuted a New York Times report claiming his layoffs of Twitter staff may prevent them from receiving end-of-year stock grants.

Replying to a Twitter user that highlighted the claim in the newspaper’s report, Musk wrote, “This is false,” without providing details.

The Saturday report said Musk was laying off Twitter staff and noted that the layoffs were occurring before 1 November, the date when end-of-year stock grants kick in, which may mean Musk will not have to make those payouts.

Job cuts

Musk completed his $44 billion (£37.9bn) takeover of the social media platform late last week after initially trying to force Twitter to accept the deal, and then trying to back out.

A trial over the pullout attempt had been due to begin earlier in October.

The deal’s completion was accompanied by the departure of top Twitter executives including its chief executive, chairman and finance chief.

The New York Times reported Musk had ordered major job cuts across the social media company’s workforce.

Trolling campaign

Some users have said they are concerned Musk will relax Twitter’s content moderation policies and allow the return of users who had been banned over hate speech.

Last week Musk, who calls himself a “free-speech absolutist” acknowledged that Twitter could not “become a free-for-all hellscape, where anything can be said with no consequences”.

On Sunday the platform said it had been hit by a coordinated trolling campaign of posting hateful content over the weekend in an apparent effort to make it appear that Musk had indeed relaxed moderation policies.

Yoel Roth, Twiter’s head of safety and integrity, said the site had not changed content policies but had been hit by “an organised effort to make people think we have”.

Hate speech

As an example of the scale of the attack, he said more than 50,000 tweets that repeatedly used one specific slur came from only 300 accounts.

Most of those accounts were “inauthentic” and the users have now been banned, Roth said.

“We’ve taken action to ban the users involved in this trolling campaign – and are going to continue working to address this in the days to come to make Twitter safe and welcoming for everyone,” Roth wrote.

Musk also confirmed the “blue check mark” verification scheme on Twitter was being revamped, following reports that the company could charge users to be verified.

“Whole verification process is being revamped right now”, Musk tweeted, without providing  details.

Matthew Broersma

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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