- Bloomberg reported Monday evening that Twitter plans to lay off about 300 people, or 8% of its workforce, potentially as soon as this week. Planned cuts are reportedly fluid and could change, according to unnamed sources in the article.
- The firings would follow a rough couple of months for the social media site, wherein it failed to find a buyer after a series of potential suitors including Salesforce, Disney and Google backed down from acquisition talks. Twitter had set a bid deadline of Oct. 27 for those interested, ahead of its Q3 earnings report — now that a bid seems unlikely, the company is instead looking to tighten its belt heading into next year.
- The expected cuts are similar in scale to the layoffs that occurred when co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey rejoined with the company last year, per Bloomberg. Twitter’s share prices have fallen 40% since then.
The tangible consequences of Twitter’s failure to rebound over the past 12 months will be felt at a company-wide level if reported layoffs come to fruition. While some downsizing might’ve been expected given financial sluggishness in recent quarters and a failure to find a buyer this month, the fact that the new round of firings is nearly equal in scale to those enacted last year at Dorsey’s return demonstrates just how little the site has grown despite myriad efforts to bring more versatility to its main platform.
Part of that versatility has been found in live video deals, which Twitter seems to be hedging most of its bets on as it tries to reinvent as a “people’s news network,” to quote Dorsey. But even a 10 game, $10 million package with the NFL has left some sponsors underwhelmed, showing decent but not groundbreaking viewer numbers.
As competitors like Facebook and Snapchat up their own video offerings, Twitter — which has a considerably smaller audience than either of those platforms at a little over 300 million active users — needs to seriously think about what it can offer going forward that's distinct from the rest of the market. Layoffs may relieve some of the financial pressure it's feeling at the moment, but serve as only a temporary fix to a much larger, long ongoing image problem for the company.