While searching for new outside investors, Elon Musk continues to drastically cut Twitter’s costs.
Even though Twitter’s employee headcount is about 70% less than it was before Musk took over at the end of October, he continues to trim the company’s costs or areas he deems are unnecessary. Meanwhile, he has already begun to solicit funding from previous investors in his takeover of Twitter. On Tuesday, Musk said that Twitter is like “a plane that’s headed towards the ground at high speed” and admitted their company will be facing a $3.5 billion loss in 2023.
Certain features on Twitter are being closed in order to reduce costs and streamline the platform, according to two of the people familiar with the company. Moments, a curated selection of happenings and events on Twitter, is being closed after launching in 2015. It was run mainly by Twitter’s curation team, which was almost entirely let go during Musk’s first round of layoffs. There’s been discussion about closing Voice Tweets, audio messages that Twitter rolled out last year, as well as a reduction in what’s available from the explore page and a “relaunch” of that search function, according to the two people and messages seen by Insider.
As part of the redesign, Explore will only have two tabs, “Trending” and “For you,” with the latter becoming an “infinite swipeable video feed.” Current Explore tabs such as “News,” “Sports,” and “Country” will be eliminated.
Twitter’s reduced headcount and limited bandwidth mean that changes to Explore are supposed to be “quick and dirty.” “This is not the place to dream big dreams about Explore,” one message stated.
According to a message, the “tech stack,” essentially the data and programming behind applications and features, for Explore will also be redesigned to facilitate faster experiments and changes with fewer people. According to two people familiar with Musk, cost is a top concern when discussing any Twitter feature.
In January, Twitter Spaces was shut down for a brief period. This happened after Elon Musk sat in as a guest on a Space hosted by journalists discussing Twitter’s recent suspensions of journalists. The suspension came about because some of the suspended journalists in the Space were using their power to track Musk’s jet. There seemed to be a glitch that allowed people who were suspended the ability to use Spaces even while banned from Twitter proper. Shortly after the shutdown, it was suggested that this feature was too expensive and needed to be stopped.
Twitter spokesperson quickly confirmed, however, that it had been restored and its technology stack will now be rebuilt to reduce costs.
Two people familiar with Twitter’s plans said the company is also considering closing some of its smaller offices, including those outside of California, New York, and London.
Despite the headcount reduction under Musk’s leadership, Twitter layoffs continue to happen on a rolling basis to help cut costs. Last month, Musk said no more layoffs were planned, but engineering turnover happened this past weekend with the departure of around 50 workers from Twitter’s infrastructure department. On Wednesday, the company’s public policy team was reduced by half – or about a dozen people – according to messages seen by Insider . The employees were not notified beforehand, and simply lost access to their work computers and tools as site-wide exits fromTwitter’s engineering department are expected in coming weeks and there are currently only 600 engineers left.
It appears Twitter’s financial struggles continue despite all of these efforts to reduce costs, in addition to Musk ending various benefits and perks, not paying employee expenses, and constantly evaluating performance. He is now looking for outside funding.
Musk sold $3.6 billion worth of Tesla shares last week, angering Tesla investors who believe he did it so Twitter could have more money.
Musk’s family office chief, Jared Birchall, has been staying at Twitter headquarters in one of the offices recently converted into sleeping quarters and has sent an email to all of the investors who supported Musk’s initial $44 billion takeover of Twitter. The email informed potential investors that additional shares were available for $54.20, but no information was provided regarding Twitter’s current financial situation.