Elon Musk blames ‘massive revenue loss’ amid Twitter lay-offs

Elon Musk blames ‘massive revenue loss’ amid Twitter lay-offs

Elon Musk has accused activist groups of “pressuring” advertisers into dropping Twitter, as the social media giant carried out its sweeping round of job cuts.

The billionaire tweeted that the groups were trying to “destroy free speech" by raising concerns around his plans to loosen content moderation rules on the site, saying it had caused a “massive drop” in revenue.

The outburst came an hour before Twitter was due to finish its widespread cuts, with staff finding out by 4pm GMT whether they still had a job at the company.

Up to half of Twitter’s 7,500 staff could be affected in cuts which the platform insists is needed to put it on a “healthy path”.

In his first tweet since the cuts began, Mr Musk said: “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."

Companies including General Motors, General Mills and Audi have all paused ads on Twitter due to questions about how it will operate under Musk.

The announcement of job losses was delivered in an internal email to staff.

Twitter said its offices would be temporarily closed and all badge access suspended in order “to help ensure the safety of each employee as well as Twitter systems and customer data”.

The company said employees who were not affected by the layoffs would be notified via their work email addresses.

Staff who had been laid off would be informed in a message sent to their personal email addresses.

Some employees tweeted early into the lay-offs their access to the company’s IT system had been blocked and feared whether that suggested they had been laid off.

“Looks like I’m unemployed y’all. Just got remotely logged out of my work laptop and removed from Slack,” tweeted a user with the @SBkcrn account, whose profile is described as a former senior community manager at Twitter.

Shortly after the email landed in employee inboxes, hundreds of people were said to have flooded the company’s Slack channels to say goodbye.

A class action lawsuit was filed on Thursday against Twitter by its employees, who argued the company was conducting mass redundancies without providing the required 60-day advance notice, in violation of federal and California law.

Mr Musk has promised to make sweeping changes at the company and has already removed the entire board, leaving himself as the sole executive, and pledged to change how the site handles content moderation.

He has also suggested allowing banned accounts, including that of former US president Donald Trump, back onto the site.

Mr Musk also wants to introduce an $8-a-month fee for users who want Twitter’s “blue tick” verification badge.

The blue tick subcription charge prompted a backlash from high-profile users, including the author Stephen King who tweeted he would be “gone like Enron” if Mr Musk imposed a $20 monthly fee that had reportedly been under consideration.

Responding to the Carrie writer, Mr Musk wrote: “We need to pay the bills somehow.”