Twitter may ‘halve its workforce’ as key investor backs job cuts

Reports suggest new owner Elon Musk aims to lose 3,800 roles of 7,500 staff with workers to be told as soon as Friday

A leading Twitter investor has backed job cuts at the company, amid reports that new owner Elon Musk could cut about half the 7,500-strong workforce.

Changpeng Zhao, the chief executive and founder of Binance, said “a slimmer workforce would make more sense” at the social media platform. The cryptocurrency exchange has invested $500m (£441m) in Twitter as part of Musk’s $44bn takeover, which completed last week and has been followed by a stream of changes and mooted overhauls of the company ever since.

According to the latest reports, in the Verge and on Bloomberg overnight, Musk is planning to cut about 3,800 jobs, with affected staff at the San Francisco-based company to be told as soon as Friday.

Zhao said on Thursday, before the Verge and Bloomberg reports were published, that Twitter has been too slow in rolling out new features under its previous ownership.

“I do feel that Twitter, given the 7,500 people they have, the amount of new features that have been rolled out is quite slow,” said Zhao, a regular user of the platform with 7.2 million followers.

Zhao, speaking at the annual Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal, added that the speed with which the platform has addressed problems such as spam accounts – a bugbear of Musk’s – has also been too slow.

Changpeng Zhao, co-founder & CEO of Binance.
Changpeng Zhao, co-founder & CEO of Binance. Photograph: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile for Web Summit/Getty Images

“Very simple things [haven’t] been really implemented very quickly, given the large workforce,” he said, referring to features such as an edit button, which is now being trialled among subscribers to Twitter’s premium Blue service in the US. “So a slimmer workforce would make more sense.”

However, Zhao said he “did not know for sure” what Musk’s plans were regarding job reductions but he trusted that “he will do the right thing for the organisation”.

Zhao said he had decided to invest in Twitter despite not having met Musk in person owing to the Covid pandemic.

“I trust him by reputation for sure. He’s a strong entrepreneur,” said Zhao, adding that he works with many people he has never met.

Twitter has been contacted for comment.


Dan Milmo in Lisbon

The GuardianTramp

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