Twitter is set to face a 75% layoff of its staff as Elon Musk moves to complete his purchase of the platform in the coming weeks.
The company is anticipating massive changes as the Tesla CEO intends to make a massive restructuring of the social media platform, which some experts are saying could result in a crippling of its content moderation.
According to The Washington Post, Musk’s discussions about his plans for the company in recent months involved potential mass layoffs that would see its staff reduced by 75%. Although details of the potential layoffs remain speculative, such a move could result in a reduction of the censorship that the platform has been accused of.
The Post reports that even if Musk’s deal does not complete, Twitter’s current management has already indicated its plan to cut its payroll by around $800 million by 2023.
Bloomberg report Kurt Wagner said that “Anyone who is a significant contributor should have nothing to worry about,” suggesting that Musk intends to turn Twitter into a lean operation like his other companies.
According to experts who spoke to ABC News, the move would cause the company to struggle with content moderation.
“Content moderation will be a lot harder without people doing content moderation,” said Zeve Sanderson, an executive at New York University’s Center for Social Media and Politics. “If there is more harassment and other forms of toxic speech, if there is more misinformation and disinformation, then people's experience on the platform is going to be really different.”
Despite the potential layoffs, there is nothing to indicate that Musk intends to abdicate the company’s responsibility in moderating content posted on the platform and that it may simply be mitigated by having more automated content policing, other experts said.
Eric Goldman, a professor at Santa Clara University School of Law told ABC News that automated content policing would allow the platform to tackle obvious policy violations and flag more difficult cases that would require human judgment for actual employees to deal with.
However, the lack of content moderators would still make it more difficult for the platform to enforce its rules against more nebulous topics, such as “securing election integrity,” ABC News reported.
“You need people on the beat looking for the latest attempts at gaming the system,” said Goldman. “If you don't have those humans paying attention, then the bad guys can run amok.”
Whatever Musk decides, his proposal to trim Twitter’s fat is already reverberating throughout the company.