Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey apologises after Elon Musk takeover prompts widespread job cuts

Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, pictured in 2018  (AFP via Getty Images)
Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, pictured in 2018 (AFP via Getty Images)

A co-founder of Twitter issued an apology on Saturday as he addressed widespread sackings at the firm, following its takeover by billionaire Elon Musk.

Jack Dorsey on Saturday took blame for the thousands of job cuts, saying he “grew the company size too quickly”.

Twitter began widespread staff cuts around the world on Friday, with suggestions as many as half of its more than 7,500 staff could be axed.

Its head of safety later said jobs cuts have affected about 15 per cent of the trust and safety department, as opposed to approximately 50 per cent of cuts company-wide.

Mr Dorsey helped found Twitter and had two runs as its CEO, with the most recent stretching from 2015 into 2021.

Taking to Twitter on Saturday following news of the job losses, he said: “I realise 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. I don’t expect that to be mutual in this moment...or ever…and I understand.”

New owner Musk is thought to want to drastically reduce costs at the company after completing his $44 billion (£39 billion) takeover of the platform last week, since tweeting “we need to pay the bills somehow”.

He tweeted late on Friday that there was no choice but to cut the jobs "when the company is losing over $4M/day." He did not provide details on the daily losses at the company and said employees who lost their jobs were offered three months' pay as a severance.

Meanwhile, Twitter has already seen "a massive drop in revenue" because of pressure from activist groups on advertisers to get off the platform, Musk tweeted Friday. That hits Twitter hard because of its heavy reliance so far on advertising to make money. During the first six months of this year, nearly $92 of every $100 it made in revenue came from advertising.

United Airlines became the latest major brand to pause advertising on Twitter. The Chicago-based United confirmed Saturday that it had made the move but declined to discuss the reasons for it or what it would need to see to resume advertising on the platform.

It joined the growing list of big companies pausing ads on Twitter, including General Motors, REI, General Mills and Audi.

Musk tried to reassure advertisers last week, saying Twitter would not become a "free-for-all hellscape" because of what he calls his commitment to free speech.

But concerns remain about whether a lighter touch on content moderation at Twitter will result in users sending out more offensive tweets, which could hurt companies' brands if their advertisements appear next to them.