- In six months of ownership, Elon Musk has whittled Twitter’s employee count down by close to 90%.
- Layoffs and firings, sometimes after interrogations about leaks, have continued on a rolling basis.
- Meanwhile, user interest in Jack Dorsey-founded Bluesky has increased lately.
Twitter’s workforce is down to its lowest level in many years as Elon Musk continues firings and layoffs, and others flee for new jobs.
Current headcount for full-time employees at Twitter is around 1,000 people, according to two people familiar with the company who asked not to be identified discussing private matters.
Musk said several weeks ago that Twitter, which he officially acquired six months ago, had 1,500 people remaining on staff, although he did not clarify whether contract workers were included in that number. One of the people familiar said Twitter’s headcount is “much lower” and closer to 1,000 employees, particularly when you exclude any remaining contract workers. Contract workers are not considered full-time staff and are technically employed by a third party. Musk has also ended contracts for thousands of such workers.
Musk has continuously slashed Twitter’s headcount since his takeover in October. There was one particularly large layoff and a mass resignation that followed shortly after the deal closed. Full-time headcount fell below 2,000 people earlier this year, as Insider first reported.
Getting closer to 1,000 workers means Twitter’s headcount is down by almost 90% from just before Musk took over, when the company had roughly 7,500 employees. Hundreds of workers had already left in the preceding two months, as Musk’s deal to buy Twitter dragged on and became more troubled. There are about 500 engineers left at the company. Twitter did not respond to requests for comment.
‘Performance reviews are constant’
As layoffs continue on a rolling basis, sometimes they affect groups of employees at a time, like they did several times earlier this year when scores more workers in trust and safety, engineering, product, and ads were let go. Many other people have simply quit or taken the first job they were offered outside of Twitter, one of the people familiar said.
“Performance reviews are constant,” while internal directives for what projects and work are priorities also change constantly, according to a former employee. Remaining workers scramble to meet Musk’s demandswhile also dealing with near constant problems that crop up on the site as there are fewer people on hand to help.
A few new people have been hired or promoted by Musk, including a new legal headbut most have only lasted a short time. Others have been hired through Twitter to work on an AI project that is just getting underway, as Insider reported.
More frequently, employees at Musk’s Twitter are fired or let go piecemeal with little to no explanation after sending in weekly reports of their work for review, the people familiar said. Several have also been “interrogated” about leaks to the media, one of the people said, before being fired. Such workers have been pulled into one-on-one meetings with a member of Musk’s security team, seemingly at random, and questioned, the person added.
The last time Twitter had so few employees was 2011. In January of that year, the company had 400 employees, according to a blog post. The service had about 100 million active users then and was two years away from an IPO.
Today, Twitter has just over 250 million daily active users, up from about 244 million six months ago, according to data from Apptopia. Although downloads of the app have fallen by nearly 15% in the last three months. In the early weeks of Musk’s takeover, downloads and usage surged. Musk has previously said it is his ambition to get Twitter to 1 billion users each month by next year. Apptopia data shows Twitter has almost 400 million MAUs currently.
Twitter rivals have not caught on. Bluesky is next up.
Most Twitter competitors have struggled so far. Musk has tried to head off new competitors by briefly blocking links in Twitter user profiles and posts to other platforms, like Instagram and Mastodon. He later made it difficult to access Substack links through Twitter.
Although a rival app has yet to take offinterest recently soared in Bluesky, a decentralized platform cofounded by Jack Dorsey, the former CEO of Twitter. The platform toward the end of April released its app and is currently staggering the onboarding of users by keeping it invite-only. The waitlist exceeds 1 million people, according to Bluesky CEO Jay Graber.
Over the weekend, Dorsey took to Bluesky to criticize Musk and his operation of Twitter. His fellow billionaire, whom Dorsey once said he trusted and actively worked to bring into the company, has not “acted right” since taking over the company. Nonetheless, Dorsey still remains a sizable investor in Musk’s new Twitter. Dorsey also said that Twitter could not have survived as a public company. The former CEO has also admitted that he hired too many employees at Twitter when he ran it.
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