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Top bands announced the suspension of their advertising on Twitter on Thursday. Image Credit: File

Twitter Inc. plans to start cutting staff Friday, the company said in an email to employees.

Billionaire Elon Musk plans to eliminate half of Twitter's workforce, making good on plans to slash costs at the social media platform he acquired for $44 billion last month, people with knowledge of the matter have said.

'Unfortunately necessary' action

"In an effort to place Twitter on a healthy path, we will go through the difficult process of reducing our global workforce on Friday," Twitter management said in an email reviewed by Bloomberg. "We recognise that this will impact a number of individuals who have made valuable contributions to Twitter, but this action is unfortunately necessary to ensure the company's success going forward."

The company will inform affected staffers Friday at 9 am San Francisco time, according to the memo. Amid the layoffs, Twitter plans to temporarily close offices and suspend badge access "to help ensure the safety of each employee as well as Twitter systems and customer data," the memo said.

3,700 job cuts

All told, Musk wants to cut about 3,700 jobs at San Francisco-based Twitter, people with knowledge of the matter said this week. The entrepreneur had begun dropping hints about his staffing priorities before the deal closed, saying he wants to focus on the core product. "Software engineering, server operations & design will rule the roost," he tweeted in early October.

Security staff at Twitter's San Francisco headquarters carried out preparations for layoffs, while an internal directory used to look up colleagues was taken off line Thursday afternoon, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Girding for firings

Employees have been girding for firings for weeks. In recent days, they raced to connect via LinkedIn and other non-Twitter avenues, offering each other advice on how to weather losing one's job, the people said. Ex-Twitter engineers are also using social media to respond to former "Tweeps" looking to land jobs elsewhere.

Musk has also been huddling with advisers to come up with new ways to make money from the micro-blogging platform, including charging for verifications, which can help delineate real users from fake accounts.

Vine revival

He's also considering reviving a long-since-discontinued short-video tool called Vine, a way to vie with popular video-sharing apps like TikTok. Another product under consideration, the New York Times reported, is paid direct messages, which would let the rank and file send private messages to high-profile users.

Several advertisers, meanwhile, have tapped the brakes on placing ads on the platform until they get a clearer idea of Musk's plans. The new owner has said he wants to remove some content moderation, giving rise to concerns that hate speech, misinformation and other potentially harmful material will flourish even more freely.

Advertising pause 

Meanwhile, top global companies, including General Mills and Volkswagen, suspended their advertising on Twitter on Thursday as pressure builds on Elon Musk to turn his platform into a succesful business.

"We have paused advertising on Twitter," said Kelsey Roemhildt, a spokesperson for General Mills, whose brands include Cheerios and Hdagen-Dazs.

"As always, we will continue to monitor this new direction and evaluate our marketing spend," the spokesperson added, confirming a report by the Wall Street Journal.

The report, citing anonymous sources, also said that Volkswagen, drug giant Pfizer and Oreo-maker Mondelez International hit pause on Twitter ads.

US auto giant General Motors last week was the first major advertiser to suspend advertising following the takeover by Musk of Twitter for 44 billion dollars.

Officials and civil rights groups have expressed worry that Musk will open the site to uncontrolled hate speech and misinformation as well as reinstate banned accounts, including that of former US president Donald Trump.

Reports that Musk plans mass layoffs at the site, which would include content moderators, have also frazzled observers.

Advertisers are Twitter's main source of revenue and Musk has tried to calm the nerves by reassuring that the site would not become a "free-for-all hellscape".

Yet as a potential alternative source of revenue, Musk has touted an idea to charge $8 per month to verify users' accounts, arguing the plan would create a new revenue stream for the company.