Twitter said Tuesday that it will lay off up to 336 employees—or as much as 8 percent of its workforce—as part of an effort to slim down operations and refocus teams on “impactful priorities.” News of the cuts, which were announced in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, was first reported last week by Re/code. The layoffs will be concentrated among Twitter’s product and engineering workers.
“This isn’t easy. But it is right,” Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s chief executive, wrote in a companywide memo also included with the filing. “The world needs a strong Twitter, and this is another step to get there.”
Twitter’s reorganization is coming at a crucial time for the company. Just last Monday, Dorsey officially assumed the role of CEO after filling the interim position during Twitter’s embarrassingly long search for a new chief. Twitter may only have part of Dorsey’s attention—he is also retaining his duties as CEO of Square, the mobile-payments startup he co-founded in 2009—but it has more than its share of problems for him to muddle through. Here’s Slate writer Will Oremus on that:
Billed by investors as the next Facebook when it went public two years ago, the company has struggled to grow much beyond a loyal core of users. Tweaks like a new home page for logged-out users have failed to revive its fortunes. More fundamental shifts, like Facebook-style algorithms and a rethinking of Twitter’s famous 140-character limit, are in the works but apparently still the subject of internal hand-wringing. Meanwhile, a parade of top lieutenants has headed for the exits. By all accounts, the company is crying out for a strong leader with a mandate for change.
Where is Twitter headed? That, as always, is the billion-dollar question, and one that Dorsey has only cryptically hinted at answering. Also last week, Twitter debuted Moments, yet another stab at making its site more accessible to the multitudes of people who aren’t already compulsive users of Twitter. In his memo, Dorsey pointed to Moments along with other video-related efforts around Vine and Periscope as “a bold peek into the future of how people will see what’s going on in the world.”
Over the past year Twitter’s stock is down 26 percent. Over the past two years it’s lost 33 percent. So far on Tuesday, though, Twitter shares have added 5 percent. Wall Street appears to have found a glimmer of hope in the layoffs, Dorsey, or both.