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Elon Musk starts firing Twitter India teams

The layoffs are part of the Elon Musk-owned company’s plan to reduce its 7,500-person workforce as a measure to save costs.

By  MoneycontrolNov 5, 2022 9:34 AM
Elon Musk starts firing Twitter India teams
Some media reports suggest that Twitter has sacked the entire marketing team while others are stating that the company is laying off atleast 50% of its India team. (Representative Image via Unsplash)

By Vikas SN

Layoffs began at Twitter India on November 4, only one week after tech billionaire Elon Musk completed the $44 billion buyout of the social media firm to take it private.

Several Twitter employees were notified by email that they had been let go by the social media company in the last 24 hours, people familiar with the matter told Moneycontrol.

Members of the company's communication team have also been laid off, Moneycontrol has learnt.

Twitter India's product head Shirish Andhare has removed his designation from his Twitter bio. We have reached out to Twitter and Andhare for more information.

Employees who have been laid off are also sharing their news on Twitter. These layoffs are part of the Elon Musk-owned company’s plan to reduce its 7,500-person workforce as a measure to save costs.

Moneycontrol has been unable to ascertain the scope of these layoffs in India. Some media reports suggest that Twitter has sacked the entire marketing team while others are stating that the company is laying off atleast 50% of its India team.

According to sources, Twitter India employs approximately 300 people. We have written to Twitter for a comment and will update the story once we hear back.

Twitter employees have been bracing for job cuts since Musk's takeover, although confusion has taken hold due to a lack of proper communication about the ongoing layoffs, their job status at the company and product changes from Twitter’s leadership team.

People familiar with the development told Moneycontrol that the current situation is "really bad internally" with "people having no clue of what's happening".

Many employees are not discussing on Twitter DMs (direct messages), but rather using alternative chat apps and anonymous apps to communicate because they have no idea if they are about to be let go from the company, the people cited above said.

In a company-wide email sent to employees on Thursday, its first-ever communication since Musk took over the company, Twitter said it will start the process of reducing its global workforce on November 4.

"We recognize that this will impact a number of individuals who have made valuable contributions to Twitter, but this action is unfortunately necessary to ensure the company's success moving forward," the company said in the email. "We are grateful for your contributions to Twitter and for your patience as we move through this process."

However, it did not provide any specifics on the extent of the layoffs. Musk is expected to lay off about half of Twitter's global workforce, according to multiple media reports.

India is the third-largest market for Twitter, with 23.6 million users as of January 2022, according to market intelligence firm Statista.

In the email, Twitter told employees that the firm has temporarily closed down its offices and suspended badge access to "help ensure the safety of each employee as well as Twitter systems and customer data". Employees were instructed to return home and await further information on email.

"If your employment is not impacted, you will receive a notification via your Twitter email. If your employment is impacted, you will receive a notification with next steps via your personal email," the company said.

The start of Musk's Twitter era

Musk completed the purchase of Twitter on October 27, following a months-long chaotic saga that saw many dramatic twists and turns - from legal challenges to public spats to disparaging memes and a courtroom trial that eventually didn't happen.

Following the completion of the deal, several top executives at Twitter, including CEO Parag Agrawal, CFO Ned Segal, policy head Vijaya Gadde, and general counsel Sean Edgett, were immediately let go.

Subsequently, Twitter has witnessed several exits from its top deck including product leader Jay Sullivan and engineering head Nick Caldwell. Musk has also dissolved the company's board of directors and appointed himself as Twitter's CEO. He is expected to appoint new product leadership at the company, according to a Bloomberg report.

Musk faces a massive challenge to turn around the company by revving up its revenues while walking the tricky path of content moderation and hate speech. It also comes amid a sharp slowdown in the online advertising market due to the global economic downturn which has severely impacted the revenue growth of advertising-dependent internet firms such as Twitter, Meta, Alphabet and Snap.

In the past week, Musk has talked about revamping the company's subscription service Twitter Blue with a new $8 monthly fee and charging for verification in an effort to diversify Twitter's revenue streams.

According to media reports, Musk is also exploring various other product changes including rebooting short video app Vine, adding a paywalled video product, and shutting down its newsletter product Revue, among others.

The move also comes at a time when the Indian government has given itself the power to appoint a quasi-judicial body which will hear user appeals against the content moderation decisions of digital intermediaries.

This story first appeared in Moneycontrol.

First Published on Nov 4, 2022 9:57 PM