Twitter: Elon Musk tells staff to brace for ‘difficult times’ as he warns of social media platform’s demise

Elon Musk has warned Twitter employees to prepare for “difficult times ahead” that might end with the collapse of the social media platform if they cannot find new ways of making money.

Workers who survived last week’s mass lay-offs are facing harsher work conditions and growing uncertainty about their ability to keep Twitter running safely as it continues to lose high-level leaders responsible for data privacy, cybersecurity and complying with regulations.

That includes Yoel Roth, Twitter’s head of trust and safety – a previously little-known executive who became the public face of Twitter’s content moderation after Mr Musk took over and who had been praised by him for defending Twitter’s ongoing efforts to fight harmful misinformation and hate speech.

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An executive confirmed Mr Roth’s resignation to co-workers on an internal messaging board. The developments were part of another whirlwind day in Mr Musk’s acquisition of the social media platform.

Twitter boss Elon Musk and Armin Laschet, CDU federal chairman and Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia. Picture: Patrick Pleul - Pool/Getty Images

It began with an email to employees from Mr Musk on Wednesday night ordering workers to stop working from home and show up in the office on Thursday morning.

He called his first “all-hands” meeting on Thursday afternoon. Before that, many were relying on the billionaire Tesla chief executive’s public tweets for clues about Twitter’s future.

“Sorry that this is my first email to the whole company, but there is no way to sugarcoat the message,” wrote Mr Musk, before he described a dire economic climate for businesses like Twitter that rely almost entirely on advertising to make money.

He added: “Without significant subscription revenue, there is a good chance Twitter will not survive the upcoming economic downturn. We need roughly half of our revenue to be subscription.”

At the staff meeting, Mr Musk said some “exceptional” employees could seek an exemption from his return-to-office order, but that others who did not like it could quit, according to an employee at the meeting.

The employee also said Mr Musk appeared to downplay employee concerns about how a pared-back Twitter workforce was handling its obligations to maintain privacy and data security standards, saying as chief executive of Tesla he knew how that worked.

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