Main image of article At Twitter, Musk's Layoffs Continue

Twitter reportedly laid off another 200 employees last weekend, or roughly 10 percent of the social media giant’s current headcount.

According to The New York Times, impacted employees included “product managers, data scientists and engineers who worked on machine learning and site reliability,” as well as senior executives.

The extent of the cuts suggest that [Twitter CEO Elon Musk] has failed to reverse the steep decline in revenue that has occurred since his takeover,” The Information added. After acquiring Twitter last October for $44 billion, Musk eliminated roughly 70 percent of the company’s employees via several rounds of layoffs, in addition to other cost-cutting measures such as shutting down a data center.

Musk also used around $12.5 billion in debt to help finance the acquisition, and the need to service that debt is almost certainly a big part of the rationale behind the layoffs and cost reductions. Twitter has suffered outages and bugs over the past few months, leading analysts and pundits to wonder if the cost-cutting is degrading the service’s backend infrastructure.

Twitter isn’t alone in initiating massive rounds of layoffs, of course. Over the past few months, a number of tech giants have cut thousands of employees, including Meta, Google, and Microsoft; many startups have also eliminated headcount and spending.

Unlike Twitter, however, many of these companies are cutting back after years of exuberant spending and hiring. During the pandemic, a surge in cloud-related revenues led many of these giants to snatch up talent and embark on very expensive projects. But fears of an oncoming recession have led many consumers and businesses to curb their tech spending, forcing a reversal in Big Tech’s previous hiring strategies. (It’s worth noting that Apple, which didn’t hire at the same red-hot pace as some of its competitors, has not unleashed any sweeping rounds of layoffs.)

At companies like Google and Microsoft, the layoffs are often part of a broader restructuring, and it’s assumed that hiring will resume in earnest once fears of a recession have passed. At Twitter, though, it’s an open question whether the continual staff reductions will stabilize the finances—and whether Musk can truly spearhead a revival in the social network’s fortunes.