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Elon Musk, the new head of Twitter, has defended his move of sacking the company's almost 50% of its workforce. The billionaire claimed that the company is running at losses as several advertisers have suspended ad spending on Twitter.

Volkswagen AG, General Motors, Pfizer Inc, and United Airlines are among the prominent brands that have already paused their advertising on Twitter. Companies are under increasing pressure to decide on whether to keep spending on Twitter after Musk took over the company last week and ushered in sweeping changes, including content moderation.

Shortly before taking over the social media company last week, Musk issued a vow to advertisers that he would not allow Twitter to become a “free-for-all hellscape,"-- an indication there would be consequences for violators of its rules against violence, or Covid-related misinformation.

Musk has also blamed the losses on a coalition of civil rights groups that has been pressing Twitter's top advertisers to take action if he did not protect content moderation. The groups said on Friday they are escalating their pressure and demanding brands pull their Twitter ads globally.

Yesterday Musk tweeted, "Twitter has had a massive drop in revenue, due to activist groups pressuring advertisers, even though nothing has changed with content moderation and we did everything we could to appease the activists.

Extremely messed up! They’re trying to destroy free speech in America".

And later, Twitter Inc laid off almost half of 7,500 of its staff, alerting employees of their job status by email.

On Saturday, Musk posted his first tweet after layoffs. The tech mogul said he had no other choice because the social media site was losing more than $4 million per day.

He also stated that the staff, who have been laid off, were offered 3-month of severance.

"Regarding Twitter’s reduction in force, unfortunately, there is no choice when the company is losing over $4M/day.

Everyone exited was offered 3 months of severance, which is 50% more than legally required," Musk tweeted.

Staff who worked in engineering, communications, product, content curation, and machine learning ethics were among those impacted by the layoffs.

Shannon Raj Singh, an attorney who was Twitter's acting head of human rights, tweeted on Friday that the entire human rights team at the company had been cut.

Twitter's curation team, which is responsible for "highlighting and contextualizing the best events and stories that unfold on Twitter," had been axed, employees said on the platform. The company's communications team in India has also been laid off, according to a Twitter executive in Asia.

A team that focused on research into how Twitter employed algorithms, an issue that was a priority for Musk, was also eliminated, according to Reuters news agency.

Senior executives including Vice President of Engineering Arnaud Weber also said their goodbyes on Twitter on Friday: "Twitter still has a lot of unlocked potentials but I'm proud of what we accomplished," he tweeted.

Last week, Twitter fired top executives, including CEO Parag Agrawal, and removed the company's board of directors as Musk took the helm.

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