As the tumbleweeds blow through empty hallways and vacant offices the spaces from the headquarters of Twitter, ssomehow, somewhere, Elon Musk found even more people to fire.
The struggling social media company laid off half of its remaining public policy team this week, according to LinkedIn and Twitter posts from former department employee Theodora Skeadas, as first reported by Tech Crunch. Last Friday, the platform also cut additional engineering staff responsible for site infrastructure, according to a report by The Information.
The Public Policy team is/was responsible for managing legal and civil interactions regarding topics such as speech rights, privacy, and security. The team responds to requests from governments and other organizations to moderate content and establish rules, according to a report from Reuters.
Gizmodo reached out to Skeadas and Twitter with questions about the layoffs, but did not immediately receive a response, and the total number of people laid off is unclear. However, the head of the public policy team, Sinéad McSweeney, also left the company this week, several unnamed sources reportedly told Reuters.
Since Musk’s hostile and chaotic takeover of the social media platform, the billionaire has cut thousands of employees of the payroll. Then he had to rehire some. And then Musk tried to make work at twitter so unpleasant (read: “hardcore”), which stopped even more.
When Musk’s corporate acquisition finally closed in late October, reports surfaced that Tesla’s CEO planned to cut three-quarters of the site’s staff. Although he denied those rumors, they have now come to fruition. Between quasi-voluntary departures and forced departures, an estimated 75% of all former Twitter’s ~7,000 employees no longer work at the company, according to Tech Crunch. Next on the block? Probably the blue bird itself.
Platform engineering, ethical AI, content moderation, and now the public policy teams have all been hollowed out or disbanded altogether. Last week, Twitter dissolved its Trust and Security Council, of which Skeadas was a leader. Even George Hotz, the notorious hacker who offered his services to Twitter at low cost for 12 weeks, leave the site.
“Work still matters!” Skeadas wrote in his lengthy LinkedIn post regarding the layoffs. “I wish good luck and strength to those who remain on Twitter.” But depending on how things are going so far: Twitter’s few, proud, enduring people will need more than luck and resolve. They’re going to need a Christmas miracle.