Elon Musk has laid off more than 6,000 people at Twitter since taking over the company, he told the BBC in a rare interview late Tuesday.
Musk was quoted as saying in the interview that the social media platform now has only 1,500 employees, down from under 8,000 who were employed at the time of his acquisition. The reduction equates to roughly 80% of the company’s staff.
It’s “not fun at all” and can sometimes be “painful,” the billionaire CEO told the British broadcaster at Twitter’s head office in San Francisco.
The world’s second richest man said that “drastic action” was needed when he came on board, because the company was facing “a $3 billion negative cash flow situation.” That left Twitter (TWTR) with only “four months to live,” he estimated.
“This is not a caring [or] uncaring situation. It’s like, if the whole ship sinks, then nobody’s got a job,” Musk said.
Musk purchased Twitter for $44 billion last October.
After initially offering to take over the company in April 2022, he attempted to get out of the deal, citing concerns over how many bot accounts it had. He has since radically overhauled Twitter: firing top executives, slashing jobs and enacting new policies on how user accounts are verified or labeled.
Since then, Twitter is now “roughly” breaking even and advertisers are returning to the platform, he told the BBC.
Musk also pledged to revise the label applied to the British broadcaster, from “government-funded” to “publicly-funded” after the BBC objected.
The designation was added over the weekend. The BBC had protested the move, saying that it “is, and always has been, independent.”
“We are funded by the British public through the licence fee,” it said at the time.
Musk also weighed in on US scrutiny of TikTok, saying that while he was not a user of the Chinese-owned app, he was usually “against banning things.”
“I mean, it would help Twitter, I suppose, if TikTok was banned, because then people would spend more time on Twitter and less on TikTok,” he mused.
“But even though that would help Twitter, I would be generally against banning of things.”
Musk also cracked jokes during the interview, saying that he was “no longer the CEO of Twitter” and had been replaced by his pet dog, a Shiba Inu named Floki.