On February 17, Twitter shut down its Mumbai and New Delhi offices with only three employees including the country lead and two people covering the north, east, south, and west regions being asked to work from home.
Meanwhile, Twitter’s Bengaluru office continues to be operational in a shared space where the majority of staff engineers report to the US team directly and are not part of the Indian team. The move is part of billionaire owner and CEO Elon Musk’s mission to cut costs and improve the profitability of the micro-blogging site.
The shutdown of two of the three offices in India is an extension of the mass layoffs in late 2022, at Twitter India. 90 percent of Twitter’s around 200-plus staff were laid off last year despite India being a key growth market for the company. Musk fired half of its 7500 workforce and shut offices all over the world within a week of joining in hopes to make Twitter financially stable by late 2023. Reports have also suggested that he might step down as CEO by the end of 2023 after stabiliwing the company.
Musk took over as CEO in a $44 billion deal, in October 2022, and rolled out multiple product and organisational changes. One of the latest changes included making the verified blue check-mark a paid service. Twitter is being sued by multiple contractors over the company’s failure to pay millions of dollars in rent for its San Francisco headquarters and London offices. Musk is facing a “massive drop in revenue” as advertisers dropped out in November 2022.
Despite Twitter’s evolution into one of India’s most important public platforms, the revenue from the Indian market is not significant to Musk’s company which also has to adhere to strict content regulations and increase local competition. Twitter’s employees, the majority being fired, have raised concerns about whether the social media platform can sustain its operations and regulate content. Earlier this month, the site also experienced significant glitches and outages.