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Elon Musk Begins Layoffs at Twitter

The company told staff members they would learn of their employment status in an email Friday morning.

Twitter sign outside company headquarters in San Francisco
Twitter's headquarters in San Francisco may be the epicenter of Friday's layoffs.
James Martin/CNET

Elon Musk will begin laying off employees at Twitter on Friday, according to a companywide email sent late Thursday, as the tech billionaire tries to reduce costs after purchasing the influential social network.  

"In an effort to place Twitter on a healthy path, we will go through the difficult process of reducing our global work force," the unsigned email said, according to The New York Times and The Washington Post. "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."

All Twitter employees will learn of their employment status at the company by 9 a.m. PT Friday, through an email with the subject line "Your Role at Twitter,"  the notice said.

Twitter currently has roughly 7,500 workers, but it wasn't immediately clear how many would be affected by the layoffs. 

Musk planned to cut about 3,700 jobs at Twitter or about half of its workforce, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday. On Friday, the outlet highlighted a lawsuit seeking class-action status filed Thursday, accusing Twitter of violating the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, which requires large companies to give least 60 days of advance notice before mass layoffs.

The Washington Post, citing internal documents and interviews, reported in October on Musk's plans to cut staff.

The move came after Musk completed a deal to buy Twitter for $44 billion and fired several executives. Musk, an avid user of Twitter, has said that the company has a lot of potential that he plans to unlock. But he's also been one of Twitter's toughest critics, accusing the company of "failing to adhere to free speech principles" and misleading him about the number of spam or fake accounts on the platform. 

Musk tried to back out of the deal, but Twitter sued him to enforce the agreement. 

In October, Time reported that Twitter workers wrote a letter to the company's board of directors, Musk and staff noting that staff cuts "will hurt Twitter's ability to serve the public conversation." The company has 238 million daily users on its platform who can see ads.

"A threat of this magnitude is reckless, undermines our users' and customers' trust in our platform, and is a transparent act of worker intimidation," the unnamed workers said in the letter. At the time, the Post reported that Musk planned to cut 75% of Twitter's workforce but the billionaire reportedly denied this in a meeting with employees. 

Since taking over Twitter, Musk has already suggested several changes he wants to make on the platform such as creating a content moderation council. Other ideas involve ways to make money outside of advertising. That includes making Twitter users pay $8 a month for a subscription plan where they would get a verified blue check mark and other features. Musk has also signaled he wants to revive Vine, a short-form video app that Twitter shut down in 2017.