Twitter suddenly cuts a large number of contract employees

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In this photo illustration, a Twitter logo is displayed on a smartphone screen with Elon Musk Twitter in the background in Athens, Greece on October 30, 2022. Elon Musk starts his Twitter ownership with layoffs.

Nikolas Kokovlis | Nurfoto | Getty Images

A large number of Twitter contract employees found they were suddenly fired this weekend after losing access to Slack and other work systems, according to internal communications shared with CNBC by full-time Twitter employees.

It is estimated that 4,400 of the 5,500 contract workers were laid off, according to Platformer, who first reported on the cuts. CNBC has not confirmed the total number.

Some of Twitter’s contract employees were based abroad in India, among other places. Full-time employees, who asked to remain unnamed because they were not authorized to speak on Twitter’s behalf, said they had not received internal notice before the contractors they worked with were fired.

Twitter has fired its entire internal communications team, according to these employees. They also made bitter jokes that media reporting the company now plays the role of internal communication.

The cancellation of contractors’ work would be the latest downgrade to the social media platform, which has already laid off about half of its employees after Elon Musk’s takeover of the company on Oct. 28.

Musk and Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey apologized last week for growing the company “too fast” a day after the social media company made the layoffs. Dorsey has personally sought to acquire Musk’s company in a controversial leveraged buyout and has rolled his own shares in the new holding company.

On June 30, 2013, shortly before Twitter went public, it had about 2,000 employees, according to documents filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Late last year, the company reported that it had grown to some 7,500 full-time employees.

Musk addressed the layoffs in a tweet on Nov. 4, writing: “As for the diminution of Twitter’s power, unfortunately there is no choice when the company loses more than $4 million a day. Anyone who left was offered a 3-month layoff. , which is 50% more than legally required.”

Since taking the helm, Musk has informed the remaining Twitter employees that he sold for billions of dollars worth of stock in Tesla, his electric vehicle company, to “save” Twitter. It is not clear whether Musk will continue to sell Tesla stock to pay off Twitter’s debt.

He also told Twitter employees that bankruptcy is not out of the question for the social media industry amid an economic downturn, and because advertisers have fled or paused spending on the platform during its rocky takeover.

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