Report: Musk’s Plan to Make Twitter Profitable Involves Canning Half the Staff and Begging People for $8


Back in May, Elon Musk made a bold, unintentionally hilarious claim when he said that as the owner of Twitter, he would increase the company’s annual revenue to $26.4 billion by 2028, which was extremely funny given that Twitter’s second-quarter revenue this year was $1.18 billion, and its profit was negative $270 million. Of course, his legion of online fanboys no doubt scoffed at the idea that he wouldn’t achieve his goal and then some, presumably saying things to the naysayers in their lives like, “Musk is a visionary, what have you ever done?” and “Just wait until he unveils his plan, you’ll be eating your words.” Now, one week into owning the platform, Musk has begun to unveil that plan, and so far it appears to involve (1) begging Twitter users to pay him $8 a month for verification and (2) firing half of the company. Which has the distinction of being both not very visionary-y and probably unlikely to net him the many extra billions of dollars a year he needs to hit his target.

Bloomberg reports that Musk, the richest man in the world, plans to “eliminate about 3,700 jobs at Twitter Inc., or half of the social media company’s workforce” starting Friday, according to people familiar with the matter. Separately, Axios reported Thursday that Twitter will require its remaining staff to return to the office, with “sources inside the company” saying that since “many employees can’t or won’t be willing to relocate,” there will be “additional attrition” on top of the layoffs. (According to the outlet, workers hired remotely during the pandemic “will have only a short time to decide whether they will relocate to be near a Twitter office,” because at Elon Musk’s Twitter, it’s all class all the time.) Within hours of owning the site, Musk fired CEO Parag Agrawal, CFO Ned Segal, policy chief Vijaya Gadde, and general counsel Sean Edgett; he’s reportedly trying to get out of paying them and other senior executives the exit-package money they’re contractually owed because again, class.

So, okay, there’ll be some cost savings associated with not having all these people on payroll, but how else does Musk plan to generate all that extra cash? As you’ve probably heard, it’s by charging people a monthly fee to have a blue check next to their name. An idea that, as you also may have heard, is not going great, given that (1) he already dropped the price in response to widespread outrage among users:

Twitter content

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And (2) even at $8 a month, many people are not going for it. Which has led to uncomfortable appeals like this:

Twitter content

This content can also be viewed on the site it originates from.

Meanwhile, according to The New York Times, “advertisers—which provide about 90 percent of Twitter’s revenue—are increasingly grappling with Mr. Musk’s ownership of the platform,” and “IPG, one of the world’s largest advertising companies, issued a recommendation on Monday through its media agencies for clients to temporarily pause their spending on Twitter because of moderation concerns, three people with knowledge of the communication said.” Which doesn’t seem great!

Anyway, we’re sure Musk has some other multibillion-dollar ideas up his sleeve (that he’s just choosing not to tell people about at this time).


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