Twitter to lay off 336 workers as new CEO slashes costs

  • San Francisco, AP
  • Updated: Oct 13, 2015 19:20 IST
The Twitter logo is displayed on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. (Reuters)

Social media giant Twitter is laying off up to 336 employees, signaling CEO Jack Dorsey’s resolve to slash costs while the company struggles to make money.

The cutbacks announced Tuesday could equate to about 8% of Twitter’s workforce of 4,100 people.

The purge comes two weeks after Twitter brought back one of its co-founders as permanent CEO in hopes that Dorsey would be able to resolve problems that have slowed user growth at the messaging service and compounded an uninterrupted cycle of financial losses.

Cutting costs can boost profits but at Twitter, it has also raised uncertainty about the future and the company’s desire for aggressive growth and the larger audience it has sought for so long.

The layoffs may be a sign of desperation at a sinking company, said Edison Investment Research analyst Richard Windsor.

“It is important to run a tight ship, but simply cutting jobs is often the action of a company that does not know what else to do,” Windsor said.

Yet Twitter’s workforce has nearly doubled over the past two years, weighing on efforts to turn a profit for the first time in its nine-year history. Since Dorsey and his partners started the service, Twitter has lost nearly $2 billion; investors are now worried that the company’s third-quarter results, scheduled for October 27, will be another disappointment.

Still, trading in the company’s shares before the opening bell suggested that investors agree with Dorsey, that the company must cut back before it begins to grow.

Shares rose almost 3% in premarket trading Tuesday.

Dorsey has acknowledged that Twitter is too confusing for many people to use, turning off new users at a time when other social services such as Snapchat and Facebook’s WhatsApp have grown in popularity.

As part of its revival plan, Twitter last week unveiled a new feature called “Moments” that packages commentary, video and photos about major events that have captured people’s attention. The work on Moments began while Dorsey’s predecessor, Dick Costolo, was still Twitter’s CEO.

After returning as CEO, Dorsey promised to make Twitter more accessible to the masses next year. Jettisoning jobs will give Twitter more financial leeway while it designs new tools.

Twitter’s expenses through the first half of the year climbed 44 percent to $1.2 billion. The company’s revenue totaled $938 million during the same period.

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