As announced, laid-off employees received emails saying it was their last day at the company, financial service Bloomberg reported. Tweets from previous employees reporting on their termination increased on Twitter. The extent of the job cuts initially remained unclear.
According to media reports from the past few days, around 3,700 jobs on Twitter could be affected. There was no official information on this – and there doesn’t have to be any more since Musk completed the takeover on Thursday last week.
After Musk’s takeover, even the extent of the United Nations’ future involvement with the platform is uncertain. “Of course, as things solidify, we will need to evaluate our participation to see if and how the changes, including review fees and the content moderation issue, may affect our communications on Twitter,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said on Friday in NYC. They are in contact with Twitter and have “askd a few questions”. The UN would then draw its conclusions based on the answers that were still pending.
Corporations freeze advertising budgets
In the meantime, other companies have announced that they will freeze their advertising budgets on Twitter – including Volkswagen, Coca-Cola, American Express and Levi Strauss. Musk lamented the withdrawal of advertisers.
He blamed “activist groups” who put pressure on advertisers. Nothing has changed in dealing with controversial content, and everything has been done to satisfy these activists, Musk wrote on Twitter on Friday in a tweet that was later deleted. “They are trying to destroy free speech in America,” he claimed, without naming the groups.
On Friday, the German VW group joined other large companies suspending their advertising on Twitter. General Motors stopped advertising on the platform last week. The pharmaceutical company Pfizer and the food giants Mondelez and General Mills are said to have taken similar steps.
Possibly even more threatening for Twitter’s advertising business, which accounts for around 90 percent of sales: the large international advertising groups are also keeping their distance. The industry giant IPG, which manages billions in advertising budgets for companies such as Coca-Cola, American Express, Levi Strauss and Spotify, is said to have advised customers to stop advertising on Twitter just a few days after Musk’s takeover.
$13 billion loan
A permanent withdrawal of major advertisers would be a problem for Twitter and Musk. The service recently wrote red numbers. Musk had also taken out loans of around $13 billion for the takeover – and according to media reports, servicing them requires more money than the Twitter business generates in free funds. Shrinking revenues would be particularly inconvenient.
Musk raised concerns himself with constant criticism that Twitter restricts freedom of speech too much. In an open letter to advertisers last week, he promised that not everyone would be allowed to express everything on Twitter without consequences. Then, over the weekend, he himself posted a link to an unsubstantiated conspiracy theory about the attack on Paul Pelosi, the husband of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.