(CNN) – Elon Musk has fired more than 6,000 people on Twitter since taking over the company, he told the BBC in a rare interview on Tuesday night.
In the interview, Musk was quoted as saying that the social media platform now has just 1,500 employees, up from less than 8,000 at the time of its acquisition. The reduction equates to approximately 80% of the company’s workforce.
“It’s not fun at all” and can sometimes be “painful,” the billionaire CEO of the British network said at Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters.
The second richest man in the world said that “draconian action” was needed when he joined Twitter, because the company was facing a “negative $3 billion cash flow situation”. He estimated that Twitter only had “four months to live”. “This is not a case of care [o] Indifference. “If the whole ship goes down, nobody has a job,” Musk said.
Musk bought Twitter for $44 billion last October. After initially offering to take over the company in April 2022, he has attempted to back out of the deal, citing concerns about the number of bot accounts he owns. Since then, he’s radically overhauled Twitter, firing its top executives, cutting jobs, and enacting new policies about how users’ accounts are verified or flagged. Since then, he told the BBC, Twitter is now “more or less” at break-even and advertisers are returning to the platform.
Musk also vowed to change the label applied to the British channel from “government-funded” to “publicly funded” after the BBC’s objection. Appointment added over the weekend.
The BBC protested the move, saying it “was and always will be independent”. “The British public finances us through license fees,” he said at the time.
Musk also spoke about US scrutiny of TikTok, saying that although he wasn’t a user of the Chinese-owned app, he was generally “against banning things.” “I mean, it would help Twitter, I think, if TikTok got banned, because people would spend more time on Twitter and less time on TikTok,” he said. “But while that would help Twitter, in general I would be against blocking things.”
Musk also joked during the interview that he is “no longer the CEO of Twitter” and that he has been replaced by his pet dog, a Shiba Inu named Floki.