Last week, ahead of acquiring Twitter, Elon Musk visited the company headquarters. “Meeting a lot of cool people at Twitter today!,” he tweeted.
Turns out he’s going to fire half of those “cool people.”
Bloomberg reports that Musk plans to lay off about 3,700 people on Friday, in an effort to drive down costs of an acquisition that has placed about $13 billion worth of debt onto the company. The exact number of cut jobs and amount of severance to be offered is still in flux, according to the report—but the 3,700 number would cut the company’s staff in half.
Musk also plans to require all employees to work in person, reversing Twitter’s work-from-anywhere policy instituted amid the pandemic. The billionaire has suggested that people who prefer remote work should “pretend to work somewhere else.”
The news comes after reports that numerous companies—including Coca-Cola, Spotify, and HBO—are considering suspending advertising activity on Twitter, amid concerns that Musk’s “maximalist” approach to free speech may make the platform unsafe. The social media platform nets some 90 percent of its revenue from advertising. General Motors has already suspended its advertising for the time being.
And while Twitter’s primary source of revenue is threatened, Musk has pushed employees to work day and night on a haphazard plan to generate enough money to keep the platform afloat. The largely-formulated-through-tweets plan would charge users $8 a month, so they can receive benefits like account verification and visibility priorities. Such a plan could lead to further issues involving misinformation and hate speech, potentially encouraging more companies to cut advertising.
“The expectation is literally to work 24/7 to get this out,” Musk reportedly said in an internal company message. While employees throw themselves into making Musk’s financially unsound vision become reality, there’s no guarantee they’ll even have their job in the coming days.