Twitter chief Elon Musk defended his choice to cut half of the company’s workforce on Friday, saying that his newly acquired business is losing large sums of money fast.
“Regarding Twitter’s reduction in force, unfortunately there is no choice when the company is losing over $4M/day,” Musk wrote on Friday evening.
Musk officially closed his $44 billion deal to acquire Twitter late last month, and afterward, he quickly fired several of the company’s top executives. The SpaceX and Tesla CEO also dissolved Twitter’s board of directors, appointing himself as CEO of the company.
Twitter sent an email to its employees on Thursday preparing them for the personnel cuts, writing that its leadership planned to begin the “difficult process of reducing our global workforce on Friday.”
“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,” read the email.
Musk said on Friday that Twitter is experiencing a “massive drop in revenue” following his takeover, which he attributed to organizations pressuring advertisers to cut ties with the company in anticipation of changes to the platform’s community guidelines.
“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,” wrote Musk.
A coalition of civil society organizations addressed a letter on Tuesday to the top 20 advertisers on Twitter urging them to suspend their partnerships with the company if Musk, a self-avowed “free speech absolutist,” fails to enforce the current guidelines surrounding hate speech.
Some employees have filed a class-action lawsuit against Twitter following the mass layoff announcement, arguing that Musk failed to provide enough notice for the cuts.
“We filed this lawsuit tonight in an attempt the make sure that employees are aware that they should not sign away their rights and that they have an avenue for pursuing their rights,” said attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan of the suit on Thursday.
However, Musk contends that his changes to Twitter’s workforce are necessary and were handled appropriately.
“Everyone exited was offered 3 months of severance, which is 50% more than legally required,” he wrote on Friday.