Elon Musk continues to lay off employees

Elon Musk last August. via NTB/REUTERS

Retrenchments, which are supposed to end at the end of November, continue in strategic departments.

Elon Musk continues to chip away at Twitter’s workforce, following his spectacular layoff plans in November that saw nearly 5,000 of the company’s 7,500 employees out in less than three weeks. However, at the end of November, the entrepreneur announced to the teams that the period of job cuts was over. He did not speak.

Bloomberg thanked dozens of people working on moderation policy in Singapore and Dublin late last week. A few days ago, about 40 data analysts and engineers working on the social network’s advertising tools had to gather. Information. At the end of December, half of the team dedicated to relations with government agencies was fired by e-mail. To date, the group will have 2,000 employees, or 75% fewer than before the takeover.

These new cuts are raising questions as they appear to be against Twitter’s best interests. The social network has seen a decline in ad revenue, on which it depends 90%, since Elon Musk’s takeover. Is it such a good idea to reduce the relevance of targeting these ads, and therefore the team responsible for ensuring their pricing? The layoffs also affected teams responsible for moderation policies, user safety, and combating disinformation. However, these topics are burning for Twitter and more so in Europe, where the platform will be introduced from 1.er The Digital Services Act (DSA) from September. This text imposes numerous obligations on digital platforms, including the presence of a large number of moderators in all languages ​​of the Union.

Europe is in search

“The DSA will be a justice of the peace in determining whether Twitter has met its obligations. Otherwise, it faces a fine of 6% of its turnover or 300 million euros, or even a ban in Europe if it commits repeated violations.“recalls Jean-Noël Barrot, Minister responsible for the Digital Transition. The latter met with Elon Musk last Saturday at his San Francisco headquarters, as did his German counterpart Volker Wissing twenty-four hours ago. Like other major platforms subject to DSA, “Twitter teams will go to Brussels for a meeting with the European Commission at the end of the month”, the minister continues. French Commissioner Thierry Breton announced at the end of November that Twitter would soon be subject to a “Stress Test” at its headquarters in California to measure compliance with the DSA, as well as a code of good practices against disinformation. “There’s still a lot to do.”Thierry had warned Breton.

Elon Musk hasn’t appeased observers by reinstating personalities banned from the platform for conspiracy, misinformation or hate speech. According to developer Travis Browne, at least 27,000 of those accounts have gained access in recent weeks as cardiologist Peter McCullough or far-right activist Pamela Geller. In France, conspiracy theorist Silvano Trotta also returned to the platform.

“Of course, it worries us”, comments Jean-Noël Barrot. Elon Musk explained to the digital minister “Wanting to give everyone the opportunity to express themselves within the legality of each country. But the visibility of messages for quality and certified accounts will be stronger,” he promises.

Another troubling signal was the dissolution in December of the Trust and Safety committee, a group of associations and researchers that helped develop Twitter’s moderation rules and new features. A replacement instance has not yet been announced.

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