Friday, March 31, 2023

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Twitter does it again and fires half the staff of its globally important public policy department

Two informed sources told the media that the head of public policy at Twitter left the company on Thursday, along with other employees in this department, with the continuation of the cost-cutting measures initiated by Elon Musk since the acquisition of the company in late October.

Sinead McSweeney, global vice president of public policy, has left Twitter, to be replaced by senior director of global public policy strategy, Nick Pickles.

More layoffs and the departure of a senior Twitter official come as regulators around the world question Twitter’s ability to moderate content and protect user data after Musk reduced the number of employees from more than 7,000 to less than 2,000.

Twitter’s public policy team is responsible for interacting with lawmakers and civil society on issues including freedom of expression, privacy, and online safety. It handles requests from governments and civil rights groups to remove problematic content, and sets rules to protect vulnerable users.

Media outlets said that the decrease in the number of employees of the Public Policy Department may lead to a backlog of requests submitted to it, and it may fail to implement some policies that are under development.

Last month, EU Commissioner Thierry Breton told Musk that in future the platform would face pressure to comply with European regulations on content moderation, removing misinformation, and limiting targeted advertising. The European Union will run a tough test early next year to assess compliance.

A senior German official said on Thursday that the EU should monitor Twitter directly; Because his erratic behavior under Musk is a threat to freedom of speech.

Half of the 30 remaining members of Twitter’s public policy team were laid off on Wednesday, media outlets reported, marking 15 layoffs.

Media reports this week said McSweeney, who lives in Dublin, Ireland, kept her job at Twitter after winning a temporary injunction to prevent the company from firing her after she refused to respond to a company-wide email from Musk demanding employees agree to work long and heavy hours. or leave the company.

Musk said on Wednesday that, before the cost-cutting measures he has initiated since completing the $44 billion acquisition of Twitter, Twitter was heading toward a “negative cash flow position of $3 billion annually,” but is now on its way to nearly break even for overall cash flow. next.

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