Twitter says 50% of staff laid off, moves to reassure on content moderation

By Sheila Dang

(Reuters) -Twitter has laid off 50% of its employees, the company's head of safety and integrity said on Friday in a tweet, while saying that the social media platform's content moderation capabilities remained in place.

The tweet by safety and integrity head Yoel Roth moved to reassure users and advertisers following the company's takeover by billionaire Elon Musk.

Roth said 15% of Twitter's employees on the trust and safety team, which is responsible for preventing the spread of misinformation and harmful content, were laid off. Company-wide, the layoffs affected 50% of employees, he added, which was the first confirmation from Twitter about the size of the layoffs.

With the U.S. midterm election just days away, Roth said combating harmful misinformation remained a top priority.

"Again, to be crystal clear, Twitter’s strong commitment to content moderation remains absolutely unchanged," Musk tweeted shortly after Roth's own tweet.

Earlier on Friday, Musk said Twitter had experienced "a massive drop in revenue," due to civil rights groups who raised concerns about how the layoffs would affect moderation, and pressured top advertisers to pull their ad spending.

Major brands like General Mills and General Motors have said they have stopped advertising on Twitter.

(Reporting by Ann Maria Shibu in Bengaluru; Editing by Leslie Adler)