Home/ Technology / Twitter chief Elon Musk sacks almost entire India staff

Twitter’s new owner and chief executive Elon Musk has fired almost all of the company’s team in India, one of its largest markets, several people aware of the developments said.

The social media platform now has fewer than 10 people left in India, according to two people aware of the developments. Twitter used to have between 230 and 250 employees in the country, two people said.

The company has approximately 23.6 million users in India, according to Statista.com. In a counterclaim filed at the court in Delaware during the battle for Twitter’s takeover, Musk claimed that India is the company’s third-largest market.

Impacted employees have lost access to Twitter’s internal systems like Slack, emails and laptops.

A lawyer close to the company said some employees chose to put in their papers in anticipation of the layoffs. The company also fired a few employees in September.

Another person close to the company confirmed that people from Twitter’s curation team, which curates content for the Twitter Moments feature, have been let go.

Other teams affected include communications, global content partnerships, sales and ad revenue. All or at least 50% of employees in these teams have been fired.

Notably, the engineering and product teams were downsized, although Twitter announced plans to expand its engineering team in India which works out of Bengaluru, as recently as in April 2021.

It had hired ex-Uber executive Apurva Dalal as director of engineering as part of the plan.

A former employee, among the ones laid off, said that some contractual employees were retained.

To be sure, Twitter’s teams involved in the functioning of its India operations work across continents, so some members weren’t directly based in India.

Within India, Twitter has three offices—in Bengaluru, Gurugram and Mumbai.

Three people confirmed that two employees in the public policy team were retained, while a fourth said Twitter also held on to a few employees from sales. Some contractors who weren’t on full-time Twitter roles have also been retained, the ex-employee cited above said.

Employees have been told that the details of the next steps, including severance packages and return of company assets, will be communicated over the next few days.

Most employees expect two months’ pay as severance, though this might differ based on a person’s employment terms.

Reuters reported that Musk had directed Twitter Inc.’s teams to cut $1 billion in infrastructure costs. According to FY21 filings with the registrar of companies (RoC) by Twitter, the company accrued 43.25 crore in “employee benefit expenses".

The RoC filings were sourced from the business research platform Tofler.

FY22 numbers weren’t available at press time.

The layoffs are part of a global downsizing drive that Musk started after taking charge of the company.

Twitter employees globally have even started a hashtag—#OneTeam—on the platform to show solidarity with each other and announce their layoffs. The same hashtag is also racking up posts on the professional networking platform LinkedIn.

“Just got laid off. Bird App, it was an absolute honour, the greatest privilege ever to be a part of this team, this culture," tweeted Yash Agarwal, who was part of the public policy team at the company earlier.

“It’s been an honour to be a part of this team and this organisation. It gives me immense gratitude to be able to call you folks my colleagues and my friends. It’s been an amazing ride," wrote Shifalika Yogi, whose profile indicates that she was a senior client account manager at Twitter.

The first round of layoffs at Twitter started on Friday following a formal email sent on Thursday that reportedly asked workers worldwide to stay at home and wait for another email that would update them about their job status.

“In an effort to place Twitter on a healthy path, we will go through the difficult process of reducing our global workforce," said the first email, Reuters reported on Friday.

Twitter employed around 7,500 people globally as of December 2021, up from 5,500 in the previous year, according to a July report by Statista.

Reports from Reuters and Bloomberg on Thursday had said Musk plans to slash half of the workforce at the firm.

After the completion of the $44 billion deal last week, Musk fired top Twitter executives, including chief executive officer Parag Agrawal and chief financial officer Ned Segal, along with legal and policy head Vijaya Gadde.

Several top executives, including chief marketing officer Leslie Berland, left the company after the firing of top executives.

Abhijit Ahaskar, Reuters and Bloomberg contributed to the story.

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Updated: 05 Nov 2022, 07:59 AM IST
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