Twitter is likely to shut down its Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru offices after sacking 80% of its workforce, top sources say
Twitter will have a limited presence in the form of a control centre in India, sources told Inc42
Former Twitter India head and CEO, Manish Maheshwari says the future of Twitter in India “remains uncertain”
In what appears to be another death knell to Twitter’s operations in the country, it has now emerged that the microblogging platform is winding up its offices in Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru.
At least two former executives at Twitter India confirmed to Inc42 that Twitter will shut down all its offices in India and would operate just a small control centre in the country.
Among the employees retained by Twitter management include executives who work at this control centre to maintain app uptime (keep the site running) during US non-working hours.
“These employees, apart from a few sales persons, one public policy executive and those who manage partnerships with advertisers have been retained. The rest, mainly marketing communications teams, product, engineering and business development teams, have already been sacked,” a former executive who did not wish to be named told the publication.
Another former executive maintained that 80% of Twitter staffers have been laid off.
“I suspect if, at all, some of them are asked to come back, it is very unlikely that they will rejoin considering the way the layoffs were handled and the pressures to deliver revenues will keep mounting,” added this former employee.
Detailed queries sent to Twitter did not elicit any response till the time of the publication of this story.
“The impact has been largely on the employees who were not bringing direct revenue streams,” one of the sources quoted above said.
Against an employee strength of more than 250 in India before the firings, it appears that a mere 30-40 employees have been spared the brunt of the layoffs while the remaining 210-220 are said to have been impacted.
Why The India Market Doesn’t Tick For Twitter
A similar sentiment was echoed by two top ex-Twitter executives Inc42 spoke to. The microblogging platform’s former India head and CEO, Manish Maheshwari, and ex-head of news for Twitter INSEA, Raheel Khursheed, told this publication that India and APAC may not be the priority for the new management.
Furthermore, advertising rates in India for Twitter have also been a cause of concern with media reports indicating that the charges were high for a price-sensitive market. From promotional tweets, hashtags (trends) to advertisements, Twitter charges were almost double or triple the prevailing market rates in the country.
Former top executives told us that the microblogging platform’s partnerships with entertainment media, news publications and even political parties in India fell through as Twitter India failed to monetise its partnerships despite the presence of top leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as well as other celebrities, sportspersons, and journalists on the platform.
Khursheed, for instance, says that a growing user base does not effectively guarantee a consistent revenue stream.
Manish Maheshwari tells us that, with 80% of the staff being laid off, the future of Twitter in India is uncertain.
“Twitter plans to grow its subscription business and not simply rely on advertising revenues. There is however a huge question mark on whether this would have any success in India because the country is a price sensitive market. Elon, looking at alternative sources of revenue including Twitter Blue, subscriptions etc, is understandable given the need to service the significant debt he used to buy Twitter,” Maheshwari told Inc42.
The former Twitter India boss also said, “Also, a significant value erosion has happened over the last few months because of the chaos and confusion caused by the Twitter deal, first having been first called off, and then an ensuing legal battle and finally its acquisition.”
He added that Musk’s plans of charging $8 from verified Twitter handles could adversely impact the credibility and significance of the validation, and would ultimately lead to value degradation of the platform if verification is made available to all.
As of now, questions loom large over how Twitter, which was considered a credible source of opinions and insights in the Indian market, will maintain its integrity, work with regulators and, at the same time, add revenue streams from India.