Twitter CEO Elon Musk told Fox News host Tucker Carlson in an interview that aired Monday that Twitter had become “absurdly overstaffed,” which is part of the reason he was able to fire 80 percent of its employees since taking ownership last fall.
“How do you run the company with only 20 percent of the staff?” Carlson asked Musk.
“It turns out that you don’t need all that many people to run Twitter,” Musk answered.
The entrepreneur has been working to get the social media platform to profitability since completing the purchase of it for $44 billion in October.
Carlson followed up noting that 80 percent is a lot of people. The size of Twitter’s workforce shrank from about 8,000 to its current 1,500, according to the Associated Press.
Musk agreed but explained, “If you’re not trying to run some sort of glorified activist organization and you don’t care that much about censorship, you can really let go of a lot of people it turns out.”
According to Elon Musk, reducing Twitter’s workforce by 80% was not an issue because there was no longer any involvement in activism and censorship campaigns.
— Dr. Simon Goddek (@goddeketal) April 18, 2023
The “Twitter Files,” published by various journalists, revealed in December that the FBI had worked closely with Twitter to suppress the Hunter Biden laptop story in the weeks before the 2020 general election to aid Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. Twitter in general had a strong bias against conservatives.
Among the people Musk let go at Twitter after assuming the helm was Deputy General Counsel James Baker, who had previously served as FBI general counsel. Baker not only helped suppress the Hunter Biden laptop story, but was also vetting anything being allowed to go public about it and other matters last fall, according to the “Twitter Files.”
Musk tweeted in December that Baker was “exited from Twitter” over his possible role in the suppression of information.
In light of concerns about Baker’s possible role in suppression of information important to the public dialogue, he was exited from Twitter today
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 6, 2022
Musk further elaborated on his decision to cut 80 percent of the social media company’s staff saying, “We just had a situation at Twitter where it was absurdly overstaffed. … You look and say, ‘What does it really take to operate Twitter?’”
“Most of what we’re talking about here is a group text service at scale. How many people are really needed for that?” the CEO asked.
Musk pointed out there really has not been that much product improvement since Twitter was launched in 2006 meaning there was no need for a large engineering or development section.
“You’re not making cars,” he said. “It’s very difficult to make cars or get rockets to orbit.”
Carlson asked Musk if buying Twitter has been worth the price.
Musk conceded that he paid twice as much as he should have, “but some things are priceless.”
“Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy,” he said.
Further, Musk and his team have made promoting truth a core value of the company.
For example, he pointed out that Twitter has added functions like “Community Notes” designed to encourage people to be truthful or risk getting fact-checked by other users.
“If they [the public] find it [Twitter] to be the best source of truth, I think they will use it more,” Musk said.
“The goal of new Twitter is to be as fair and even-handed as possible, so not favoring any political ideology.”