Twitter begins to axe remaining Australian staff

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Social media giant Twitter is in the process of ending its physical presence in Australia, cutting the handful of staff that survived its previous rounds of layoffs.

Its owner, billionaire businessman Elon Musk, has made several rounds of sharp cuts at the company, firing thousands of staff and disconnecting servers to save money.

Twiter’s owner Elon Musk has driven deep cost-cutting at the company since buying it last year.

Twiter’s owner Elon Musk has driven deep cost-cutting at the company since buying it last year.Credit:AP

This week those cuts extended to axing its remaining Australian team, which means the social media company will be left without a local workforce to speak with government or manage issues that arise in this country. It has recently suffered two partial outages for Australian users.

Other social media companies such as Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram; Google, which owns YouTube; Snap, which owns Snapchat; and TikTok all have teams in Australia.

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This masthead revealed in November that Musk had cut more than half of Twitter’s then 40-odd Australian staff as part of global layoffs. Those that were left were mostly selling ads, while staff in communications, news curation and government relations were cut and others left voluntarily.

But this week industry sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to talk to the press, said that Twitter had closed its local office. A series of other offices in the region are also being shuttered.

Twitter staff were already working from home in Australia after the company stopped leasing its Sydney CBD office.

Twitter was losing money before Musk purchased it last year, but the business now also has to contend with interest on the loans that Musk used to fund his $US44 billion ($63 billion) purchase of the company.

After the last round of cuts, Australia’s e-Safety Commissioner, Julie Inman Grant, panned the move.

“The approach of culling employees who have particular expertise in trust and safety functions, with intimate knowledge of how the platform’s policies and tools work, potentially undermines the company’s ability to combat abuse, misinformation and harms in the future,” she said.

Twitter Australia staff who were contacted for comment either did not reply or declined to comment. The company no longer has public relations staff in Australia. Messages to its communications team overseas were not immediately returned.

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