When Elon Musk concluded his purchase of Twitter in October 2022, he jumped in with both feet to reorganize the company that was plagued with too many employees, employees who were not working enough, and high overhead costs in headquarters and other expenditures. Musk was transparent with his plans, as he had initiated the purchase in April 2022, and let the employees know that changes would be imminent. Musk then launched his effort to turn around Twitter’s performance after it had failed to turn a profit for years.
In November, one month after the purchase was completed, Musk took heat for laying off roughly half of Twitter’s 7,500 worldwide employees, but he’s since defended his action.
“Regarding Twitter’s reduction in force, unfortunately, there is no choice when the company is losing over $4M/day. Everyone [who] exited was offered 3 months of severance, which is 50% more than legally required,” he explained on the platform
Regarding Twitter’s reduction in force, unfortunately there is no choice when the company is losing over $4M/day.
Everyone exited was offered 3 months of severance, which is 50% more than legally required.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 4, 2022
He noted further that “Twitter’s strong commitment to content moderation remains absolutely unchanged,” while noting that “hateful speech” on the platform had “declined below prior norms” since he acquired the platform, contrary to many expectations.
The Daily Caller noted:
Despite the mass layoffs, the platform’s 2000 content moderators were mostly “not impacted,” according to Twitter’s Head of Safety and Integrity Yoel Roth. He added that the daily volume of “moderation actions” is the same under Musk as it was under the previous leadership.
As the midterms approach, Roth also stated that combatting “harmful misinformation that can suppress the vote” remains Twitter’s “top priority.”
Here are the facts about where Twitter’s Trust & Safety and moderation capacity stands today:
tl;dr: While we said goodbye to incredibly talented friends and colleagues yesterday, our core moderation capabilities remain in place.
— Yoel Roth (@yoyoel) November 4, 2022
Before making his statement, Musk said that Twitter experienced a “massive drop in revenue” after left-wing “activist groups” pressured advertisers to leave the platform, accusing them of “trying to destroy free speech in America.”
“Twitter has had a massive drop in revenue, due to activist groups pressuring advertisers, even though nothing has changed with content moderation and we did everything we could to appease the activists. Extremely messed up! They’re trying to destroy free speech in America,” he tweeted.
Twitter has had a massive drop in revenue, due to activist groups pressuring advertisers, even though nothing has changed with content moderation and we did everything we could to appease the activists.
Extremely messed up! They’re trying to destroy free speech in America.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 4, 2022
Employees at Twitter who were receiving their pink slips did not take kindly to Musk’s reorganizing of his new company. According to reports, the former employees accused Musk and Twitter of failing to give them adequate notice before they were laid off after the billionaire Tesla and SpaceX CEO purchased the platform. The employees filed a class-action lawsuit together.
Now, a federal judge in San Francisco has handed Twitter CEO Elon Musk a victory in a legal battle with those former employees of the platform. U.S. District Judge James Donato ordered the ex-staffers to drop their class-action lawsuit against Musk and pursue any claims against him through arbitration, Conservative Brief reports.
Ex-Twitter workers will have to pursue their claims in individual arbitration rather than through a class-action lawsuit, a judge rules https://t.co/4PhkfdYg9r
— Bloomberg (@business) January 14, 2023
Attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan, who represented the plaintiffs, made a statement before the ruling and said, according to Business Insider, “Now that the severance agreements have been sent to employees, Elon Musk has proven us correct: Twitter is in fact trying to shortchange employees and break promises. Musk’s decision to fleece Twitter workers isn’t just shameful – it’s also going to be very costly. These claims will be extraordinarily expensive and time-consuming for Twitter to defend.”
After the ruling, Liss-Riordan said, “Insisting that workers file claims one by one has backfired for many companies our firm has taken on.”
“These companies think they can make employees just go away and not assert their rights by using arbitration clauses, but we have made them sorry about what they wished for,” she added. “We anticipated this and that’s why we have already filed 500 individual arbitration demands – and counting. This is not a win for @elonmusk. Twitter still has to answer claims in court, on top of the arbitration battles,” she tweeted.
We anticipated this and that’s why we have already filed 500 individual arbitration demands – and counting. This is not a win for @elonmusk. Twitter still has to answer claims in court, on top of the arbitration battles. https://t.co/c2CvJTnlsk
— Shannon Liss-Riordan (@SLissRiordan) January 14, 2023
On Saturday, founder and former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey apologized to the staff who were terminated, claiming he grew the company too fast.
“Folks at Twitter past and present are strong and resilient,” Dorsey said. “They will always find a way no matter how difficult the moment. I realize many are angry with me. I own the responsibility for why everyone is in this situation: I grew the company size too quickly. I apologize for that.”
“I am grateful for, and love, everyone who has ever worked on Twitter,” he continued. “I don’t expect that to be mutual in this moment…or ever…and I understand.”
I am grateful for, and love, everyone who has ever worked on Twitter. I don't expect that to be mutual in this moment…or ever…and I understand. 💙
— jack (@jack) November 5, 2022
Dorsey’s gracious acceptance of responsibility for the state of Twitter when Musk took over is a stark difference to comments President Joe Biden made accusing Musk of “buying an outfit that sends and spews lies all across the world” during a fundraiser in Illinois Friday evening. “There’s no editors anymore in America.”
“How do we expect kids to be able to understand what is at stake? What is at stake? So there’s a lot going on, a lot going on. But we have an enormous opportunity, enormous opportunity,” Biden added.