(NEW YORK) Twitter began sweeping layoffs Friday as new owner Elon Musk restructured the company, raising serious concerns about the social media platform and its ability to tackle misinformation just days before an election. For the Middle Ages in the United States.
Posted at 8:13 am
The speed and magnitude of the cuts have also exposed Elon Musk and Twitter to lawsuits. At least one lawsuit has been filed alleging Twitter violated federal law by not giving required notice to fired employees.
The San Francisco-based company told workers in an email Thursday that they would learn Friday if they were fired. Twitter Chief Security and Integrity Officer Yoel Roth confirmed in a tweet that half of the company’s 7,500 employees have been laid off.
Email and others continually learn that fired employees can no longer log into company systems. A Twitter manager, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity for job security concerns, said administrators had not received any notice of who would be fired.
Elon Musk explained on Twitter on Friday that he had no choice but to cut jobs because “the company is losing over $4 million a day.” He said that three months severance package has been provided to the employees who have lost their jobs.
No other social media platform comes close to Twitter as a place where government agencies and other important service providers — election commissions, police departments, utilities, schools and the media — can reliably keep informed people. Many fear Musk’s wave of layoffs will make him less credible.
Yoel Roth emphasized that Twitter’s election integrity efforts and the fight against misinformation are top priorities.
Musk, meanwhile, tweeted that “Twitter’s strong commitment to content moderation remains completely unchanged.”
However, a Twitter employee told The Associated Press on Friday that it will be difficult to do this starting next week after losing several colleagues.
“It affects our ability to support the election, that’s for sure,” he said on condition of anonymity so he could keep his job.
The employee said there is nothing concrete about the company’s direction other than what Musk has said publicly on Twitter.
“I follow his tweets and they influence how we prioritize our work,” he said.
Many employees said they are losing their jobs. They said Twitter has fired all of its teams, including one focused on human rights and global conflict, checking Twitter’s algorithms for bias in how tweets are disseminated, and a team of engineers dedicated to making the social platform more accessible to people with disabilities.
Eddie Perez, manager of Twitter’s civil integrity team, who resigned in September, said he feared the removals so close to midterm elections in the United States could allow misinformation to “spread like wildfire” in the post-election period.
“I find it hard to believe that it doesn’t have a significant impact on their ability to deal with the misinformation that’s out there,” he said.
On Friday, a coalition of civil liberties groups called on the companies to suspend ad purchases on the platform.
The lawsuit was filed Thursday in federal court in San Francisco on behalf of one fired employee and three others who were locked out of their workplace accounts. They accused Twitter of violating the law by failing to provide the required notice.