Nearly four months into Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover, the company has conducted more layoffs that have impacted at least 50 employees, according to a report from The Information.
The layoffs include Musk loyalist and product manager Esther Crawford, who oversaw the Twitter Blue verification and subscription, according to Platformer’s Zoë Schiffer, while The Verge’s Alex Heath confirmed the majority of the remaining product team was also laid off. These layoffs instill additional doubt that Musk’s actions intended to move Twitter towards profitability are working, as Twitter Blue was touted as a major effort towards that goal.
A report from early February in The Information revealed that just 0.2% of Twitter users had subscribed to the paid feature.
Crawford’s layoff stirred the recirculation of a photo taken shortly after Musk’s $44 billion acquisition of the social media platform in November 2022, in which Crawford is seen sleeping in the Twitter offices using a sleeping bag and an eye mask.
“When your team is pushing round the clock to make deadlines sometimes you #SleepWhereYouWork,” Crawford tweeted, riffing on Twitter’s infamous #LoveWhereYouWork.
While some Twitter users criticized Crawford’s loyalty to Musk, Behnam Rezaei, Twitter’s previous head of product and engineering who stepped down from the company in January, defended her as a “great product leader” who “worked hard to make Twitter better.” Rezaei clarified the product manager “didn’t push anybody out” and alluded to issues between Crawford and Musk by saying “Her failure was, many ‘men’ are afraid of strong women.”
Crawford also oversaw the development of the Twitter payments platform, a step in the direction of achieving one of the new Twitter chief’s goals to enable verified users to send money to other users.
“Now we know that this is someone who has been authenticated by the conventional payment system, now we can say, ‘You’ve got a balance in your account, do you want to send money to someone else within Twitter?’” Musk explained on a November Twitter Space Q&A regarding advertising. “And maybe we pre-populate their account and say, ‘Okay, we’re gonna give you $10 and you can send it anywhere within Twitter.’”
While the status of this feature is unknown following Crawford’s exit, Musk has previously hinted at rivaling Chinese app WeChat, which includes communication and financial transactions in one platform, tweeting in October that “buying Twitter is an accelerant to creating X, the everything app.”