Elon Musk says Twitter was 'absurdly overstaffed' and run like a 'glorified activist organization' before his takeover

Elon Musk says Twitter was 'absurdly overstaffed' and run like a 'glorified activist organization' before his takeover
Elon Musk.Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images
  • Elon Musk told Fox News that Twitter was previously "absurdly overstaffed."
  • He said that the platform is "working better than ever" despite losing 80% of its staff.

Elon Musk said that Twitter was "absurdly overstaffed" before he took over the company in October and laid off thousands of workers.

In an interview on Fox News Channel's "Tucker Carlson Tonight" – which aired on Monday but was recorded earlier this month – Musk described Twitter as "a comedy situation" before his takeover. He said that censorship made it like a "glorified activist organization."

The billionaire previously told the BBC that it was "painful" to cut staff numbers, but necessary to stop Twitter from going bankrupt.

Complimentary Tech Event
Transform talent with learning that works
Capability development is critical for businesses who want to push the envelope of innovation.Discover how business leaders are strategizing around building talent capabilities and empowering employee transformation.Know More

Around half the workforce was let go shortly after Musk's takeover, while others later chose severance in an ultimatum to work "extremely hardcore," before more layoffs in January and February. This has resulted in its workforce dropping by 80%.

Some other employees have reportedly been fired for telling Musk his popularity was declining, or advising against a joke tweet about Donald Trump's return to the platform.


Musk earlier criticized the company's old management for banning Trump – calling it a "grave mistake" as he explained why he reinstated the former president's account.

He promoted the "Twitter Files" – a series of internal documents showing former Twitter execs communicating with the FBI, and the Biden campaign's role in getting photos of Hunter Biden removed, as they appeared to violate the site's rules on non-consensual nudity.

"If you're not trying to run some sort of glorified activist organization ... then you can really let go of a lot of people, it turns out," Musk told Carlson.

He added that the platform is "working better than ever" despite the reduced workforce. "It turns out you don't need all that many people to run Twitter," he said.

But Twitter has suffered several outages since staff numbers have plunged.


In February, users were left unable to tweet after an employee accidentally deleted data and there was nobody left on the team responsible to fix it, Platformer reported.

It also saw a partial outage during the Super Bowl halftime show, despite Musk telling staff to maximize stability for the big event.

One unnamed current Twitter employee told Platformer last month that outages have become so frequent that: "I think we're all numb to it," they said.

Insider contacted Twitter for comment. The company responded with an automated message that didn't address the inquiry.