It’s only been four months since Elon Musk bought Twitter and abruptly fired half of the staff, but the boss has continued to lay off employees and stir up controversy, casting doubt on the platform’s viability.
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This weekend, the California company again laid off at least 200 employees, or 10% of its workforce, according to The New York Times.
Since the end of October, between social plans, resignations and engineers personally fired for criticizing Elon Musk, the company has already gone from 7,500 to 2,000 employees, according to estimates from Daily Mail and other niche media like the information.
“The light is still on on Twitter, but really just barely,” commented Jasmine Enberg, an analyst with Insider Intelligence.
It predicts that the social network, which had more than 368 million monthly users worldwide in 2022, will lose about 32 million between 2022 and 2024, due to the spread of toxic content and/or due to an increase in number distribution.
“The staff has been reduced to a skeleton, so there are very few people to solve technical and content moderation issues,” she explains to AFP.
Knowing that the leader does not appear to seek to please advertisers or associations.
This weekend, he defended cartoonist Scott Adams, who said he “wants nothing to do” with the black population.
Several newspapers have announced they will no longer publish his cartoons, but Elon Musk on Sunday accused the US media of being “racist towards whites and Asians” after it had been “longtime racist towards non-white people.”
Under his leadership, “Twitter has become a machine for spreading conspiracies and messages of hate,” Angelo Carusone, president of Media Matters for America, said recently.
According to this non-governmental organization that combats disinformation, advertisements for various companies have appeared alongside “narratives of Holocaust-denying anti-Semites”.
“Twitter has lost hundreds of its top advertisers, and its revenue is down compared to last year,” notes Jasmine Enberg.
She explains that brands do not have “trust” in the owner of the platform, whose audience has always been limited compared to its neighbors, the two giants Google and Meta (Facebook and Instagram).
And that trend will only get worse: “Twitter managed to avoid a decline in its user base in 2022 in particular because people wanted to watch the saga between Musk and the network live,” she believes. But the entrepreneur is “no longer up to date”.
That’s what an engineer on site tried to explain to Elon Musk earlier this month, according to The Verge.
The billionaire asked the developers why his messages are read less than before. A computer scientist explained to him that it was a popularity issue rather than an algorithm issue – he was fired.
“on the key”
At the same time, several former employees and businesses filed complaints against the San Francisco corporation for wrongful breach of contract or failure to pay rent and bills.
And Blue, the paid subscription that launched last year in great confusion as an alternative to ad revenue, hasn’t met with success. In mid-January, only 180,000 people signed up for the formula in the United States, according to The Information.
“Twitter will have to nearly double its number of subscribers worldwide by 100 to make up for its loss in advertising revenue,” notes Jasmine Enberg. “It’s not a badly started fight, it’s an insurmountable task.”
Esther Crawford, this product’s engineer, is among the staff thanked this weekend. She was one of the few managers to show her support for the new boss, even retweeting a photo in which she was seen sleeping in a sleeping bag at her workplace.
“Those who make fun of cynicism should be on the sidelines, not in the arena,” she wrote on Twitter on Monday, defending her “optimism and hard work.”
Elon Musk — the richest man in the world according to Bloomberg — is looking for someone to replace him at the helm of Twitter, a move that could help the platform bounce back.
Until then, “unless you make a decision to terminate the service, Twitter will survive,” believes Jasmine Enberg. “There is a loyal user base, and the network can survive even with technical problems and unpleasant atmospheres.”
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