Elon Musk, TV’s Wario, has told investors that his new plan to revitalize Twitter is going to look an awful lot like firing more than 5,000 people who currently work at Twitter. This is per The Washington Post, which got its hands this week on some of the info Musk has been using to entice investors into his scheme to purchase the social media company—which is expected to finally go through this week, after months of litigation—saying he intends to lay off something like 75 percent of its 7,5000 workers pretty much immediately.
Now, to be fair—and we hate being fair to Elon Musk, so you know how this must pain us—at least some of those layoffs were probably coming anyway. One of the reasons Twitter took Musk up on his initial offer to buy the company back in April—and then sued him when he tried to back out of the deal—is that the company has never been the most profitable of the social media platforms, despite its cultural ubiquity. As such, Twitter was apparently gearing up to cut $800 million from its payroll this year anyway; that process, which would have amounted to letting go about a quarter of Twitter’s staff, was halted after Musk started pursuing an acquisition of the service.
What does all this mean for you, the person pretty much just using Twitter as a way to view collected TikTok videos from accounts too irritating to personally follow? Well, some fairly large chunk of the 5,000 or so people Musk has said he’ll lay off are engineers, who maintain Twitter’s infrastructure, and whose absence could open the site up to malware attacks and other security issues. Others, meanwhile, are contracted moderators who screen and scrubs the site for offensive material, keeping the whole operation just this side of basically tolerable at the moment.
Given that, on more than one occasion, Musk has talked about opening Twitter up to “free speech” once he takes it private—including un-banning Donald Trump, who’s been off the site ever since shortly after the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol—it’s not hard to start getting anxious about where some of these cuts are going to fall; we’ll presumably know if Musk’s going to put his money where his mouth is more soon than we’d like to contemplate.