Elon Musk reportedly to cut quarter of Twitter staff in first round of layoffs as he reassures EU about removing illegal content
Elon Musk plans to let go about one-quarter of Twitter’s workforce in a first round of layoffs, the Washington Post reported on Monday, amidst speculation about his plans for the iconic platform.
The paper said the layoff talks were led by Alex Spiro, Musk’s longtime legal representative who is known for representing celebrities.
Twitter reported to the SEC that it had more than 7,000 staff at the end of 2021, meaning the layoffs would amount to nearly 2,000 people.
Musk reportedly fired Twitter chief executive Parag Agrawal, finance chief Ned Segal and legal affairs and policy chief Vijaya Gadde upon taking control of the company last week in a drawn-out $44 billion (£38bn) deal that he spent months trying to get out of.
Meanwhile, Musk has reportedly communicated directly with European Union industry commissioner Thierry Breton to assure him that Twitter would comply with incoming EU tech regulations under his ownership.
Musk told Breton he planned to comply with the Digital Services Act, which was approved this summer and requires online platforms to do more to police illegal content, Reuters reported on Monday, citing unnamed EU sources.
The exchange reportedly came after Breton warned Musk about the legislation on Friday, writing on Twitter, “In Europe, the bird will fly by our EU rules.”
The DSA requires the biggest online platforms to take more action than smaller ones and allows for fines of up to 6 percent of a company’s global turnover if the rules are not followed.
Musk has called himself a “free-speech absolutist”, but acknowledged last week in a tweet that Twitter could not “become a free-for-all hellscape where anything can be said with no consequences”.
Advertisers are also watching to see what Musk will do with Twitter, with General Motors saying on Friday it would temporarily halt paid advertising on Twitter and was engaging with the company “to understand the direction of the platform under their new ownership”.
Over the weekend Musk deleted a Twitter post from Friday in which he had linked to a website printing an unfounded theory about last week’s hammer attack on Paul Pelosi, the husband of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, at their home in San Francisco, a post that had prompted fresh questions about his leadership of Twitter.