Twitter’s new owner Elon Musk has ordered a major purge of staff at his new company, telling remaining executives to cull 50 percent of the workforce.
After taking control of the company on Thursday, Musk is set to start culling employees over the weekend.
Musk “ordered the cuts across the company, with some teams to be trimmed more than others,” the New York Times reported.
“Some managers [were] being asked to draw up lists of employees to cut,” the report adds.
Musk acquired the company Thursday after his $44 billion purchase was finalized following a drama-filled six-month process.
The report said Musk also fired the company’s general counsel, Sean Edgett, who was escorted out of the building.
Ross Gerber, the chief executive of Gerber Kawasaki Wealth and Investment Management, said he was told by a top official from Musk’s team that major layoffs were coming to the workforce of 7,500 people.
“I was told to expect somewhere around 50 percent of people will be laid off,” Gerber said.
The layoffs are reportedly set to happen before employees get stock grants as part of their compensation, the report added.
Reports circulated this week that Musk was planning to cut up to 75% of the workforce, although he reportedly pushed back on the notion that the number would be that high.
In a move that confirmed his takeover was complete, Musk released a statement to advertisers on Thursday to explain why he wanted to buy Twitter.
He assured them that they do not have to worry about Twitter becoming a “free-for-all hellscape.”
“I wanted to reach out personally to share my motivation in acquiring Twitter,” Musk wrote.
“There has been much speculation about why I bought Twitter and what I think about advertising.
“Most of it has been wrong.”
“The reason I acquired Twitter is because it is important to the future of civilization to have a common digital town square, where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner, without resorting to violence,” Musk continued.
“There is currently great danger that social media will splinter into far right wing and far left wing echo chambers that generate more hate and divide our society.”
“In the relentless pursuit of clicks, much of traditional media has fueled and catered to those polarized extremes, as they believe that is what brings in the money, but, in doing so, the opportunity for dialogue is lost,” Musk continued.
“That is why I bought Twitter.
“I didn’t do it because it would be easy.
“I didn’t do it to make more money.
“I did it to try to help humanity, whom I love.
“And I do so with humility, recognizing that failure in pursuing this goal, despite our best efforts, is a very real possibility.”
“That said, Twitter obviously cannot become a free-for-all hellscape, where anything can be said with no consequences!” Musk concluded.
“In addition to adhering to the laws of the land, our platform must be warm and welcoming to all, where you can choose your desired experience according to your preferences, just as you can choose, for example, to see movies or play video games ranging from all ages to mature.”