Twitter is facing fresh uncertainty amid a growing exodus of top management and reports that mass layoffs and major changes to the platform could be coming within days.
The company’s advertising and marketing chiefs have recently announced their departures, as well as the chief people and diversity officer, the general manager for core technologies, the head of product and vice-president of global sales. Last week, Elon Musk fired the CEO, Parag Agrawal, the chief financial officer, Ned Segal, and the legal affairs and policy chief, Vijaya Gadde, shortly after taking over the company.
Sarah Personette, the chief customer officer and ad boss who had said she was looking forward to working with Musktweeted on Tuesday that she had resigned, adding to advertisers’ uncertainty over how the social media company will change under its new owner.
Dalana Brand, the chief people and diversity officer announced on Tuesday in a LinkedIn post that she had also resigned last week. The general manager for core technologies, Nick Caldwell, confirmed his departure on Twitter, changing his profile bio to “former Twitter exec” by Monday night.
Chief marketing officer Leslie Berland, Twitter’s head of product Jay Sullivan, and its vicepresident of global sales, Jean-Philippe Maheu, have also left, a person with knowledge of the matter told Reuters. It was not immediately clear whether they quit or were asked to leave.
Reports about job cuts have swirled since even before Musk officially took over. The latest report from Bloomberg said on Wednesday that Twitter’s new billionaire owner would cut about 3,700 jobs – amounting to half of Twitter’s workforce, in order to reduce costs, and would also ask workers to return to the office. The outlet further reported that Musk planned to start charging for Twitter “blue check mark” verification by next week.
Multiple employees told Reuters they continue to receive little communication about the future of the company. Twitter canceled a check-in call last week as well as an all-staff meeting that was scheduled for Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Musk’s team plans to meet with advertisers in New York next week as the company’s increasingly skittish customers raise alarms about the potential for harmful content to appear next to their ads.
Hateful content has skyrocketed since Musk’s takeover. Use of the n-word has increased by nearly 500% on Twitter, according to the Network Contagion Research Institute, which identifies “cyber-social threats”.
A coalition of more than 40 advocacy organizations including the NAACP and Free Press sent an open letter to Twitter’s top 20 advertisers on Tuesday, asking them to pull their ads if Musk guts content moderation on the platform.
Mediabrands, a unit of ad holding company IPG, has advised its clients to pause advertising on Twitter for the next week until the company gives more details about its plans to protect trust and safety on the platform, Reuters reported, according to a source familiar with the matter. IPG works with major advertisers such as Coca-Cola.
Musk has attempted to reassure advertisers. “Twitter’s commitment to brand safety is unchanged,” he tweeted on Monday.
He previously said he would reverse Twitter’s ban on Donald Trump, who was kicked off because of concerns he could incite further violence after the insurrection at the US Capitol last year. But this week, Musk indicated that no banned accounts would be re-instated until at least after the US midterms.