Elon Musk has said he has “too much work on my plate” as Twitter was reported to have laid off more than 4,000 contractors working in areas including content moderation and engineering.
Tesla’s CEO and new owner of the social media platform told the B20 business executives conference in Bali that “my workload has increased quite a bit lately,” apparently referring to his acquisition of the social media platform for $44 billion (£44bn). 37 billion) on October 27.
‘I mean, oh man. I have too much work on my plate, that’s for sure,” he added via video link.
Asked how it felt to be a “media mogul” after buying Twitter, he said, “It’s a medium as opposed to media. But there’s no way to make everyone happy, that’s for sure.”
Musk’s comments on Monday followed a report over the weekend that another job suspension at Twitter had affected 4,400 of the company’s 5,500 contract employees, according to Casey Newton, the author of the tech industry newsletter Platformer.
The affected features included content moderation, marketing, and “core infrastructure services that help keep the site up and running.”
The move follows the layoff of more than 3,700 full-time Twitter employees at the beginning of the month, days after the social media platform was bought by Musk.
One contractor affected by the cuts, data scientist Melissa Ingle, said she learned of her fate Saturday night when her access to Twitter’s systems was suddenly cut off.
“Saturday night fired from Twitter. No explanation, just all access removed. Happy holidays everyone!” she tweeted.
Sarah Roberts, an associate professor at the University of California and content moderation expert who worked as a staff researcher at Twitter earlier this year, told the Associated Press that cutting contracted moderators would have a “tangible impact on the platform’s experience.”
Tech news site The Verge reported on Friday that Omnicom, one of the world’s largest advertising agencies, had recommended clients “suspend activity on Twitter at short notice” due to issues such as layoffs in Twitter’s trust and security teams and an increase in ” verified fake accounts that had taken advantage of Musk’s offer of a blue check — validating an account as trustworthy — for $8 a month.
The subscription service was suspended Friday after a spate of controversial tweets by blue tick accounts, including some posing as high-profile brands. Musk has told Twitter staff that the company, which relies on advertising for 90% of its revenue, has suffered “a massive drop in revenue” as companies cut spending.
Twitter has been approached for comment.
Musk also confirmed on Twitter that his Starlink satellite internet company bought ads on the platform to monitor its effectiveness. “SpaceX Starlink bought a small – not big – advertising package to test the effectiveness of Twitter ads in Australia and Spain,” he tweeted, adding that Starlink had done the same for Facebook, Instagram and Google.
Earlier in his B20 appearance, the world’s richest man said he dealt with the challenges facing Tesla with “great difficulty”. This week, Musk is also expected to testify in a suit brought by a Tesla shareholder against a $52 billion compensation package awarded to him in 2018.
“I really work so much that I can work from morning to night, seven days a week. So this isn’t something I would recommend, to be honest,” he said.