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Twitter lays off employees in Bengaluru development centre, cites normal business review

Harshith Mallya
19th Sep 2016
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Twitter, the popular micro-blogging platform, has had a rough 2016 globally and the effects now seem to be trickling down to India. Multiple sources close to Twitter, who did not wish to be named, confirmed to YourStory that Twitter India is in the process of laying off 80 percent of its employees based in Bengaluru. YourStory also reached out to Twitter India and the company responded with an official statement:

Engineering is a key part of our global company and we continue to focus our programs and efforts on improving the core product experience for our users worldwide. As part of our normal business review, we have decided to stop the global engineering work at the Bengaluru development centre. We thank the impacted individuals for their valuable contributions and are doing as much as we can to provide them a respectful exit from our company.

Addendum, 6:55pm- The Twitter spokesperson claimed that only half the Bangalore staff have been impacted by this decision and not 80 percent as cited by YourStory sources. 

Twitter-to-stop-the-global-engineering-work

A Twitter spokesperson who wished not to be named told YourStory that they cannot provide specifics about the number of employees in Bengaluru impacted by this business decision. Twitter also declined to comment on how they would help the affected employees with their exits because of their employee privacy policies and also out of respect for the individuals affected.

While this looks like a major step backwards for the San Francisco headquartered company, Twitter noted that it still remains committed to India as a strategic market for users, partners, and advertisers. It said, "Today, India is one of our fastest growing markets worldwide and we continue to invest in key initiatives to further expand our audience, increase user engagement, and drive revenue in this important market."

Twitter India also shared a few of its most recent developments, to support their assertion that 'all is well':

  • Partnership with UP government: Twitter recently launched an e-governance partnership with the Uttar Pradesh State Police to use Twitter as a customer service channel via Tweets to their official @UPPolice account.
  • User engagement through emojis: Twitter noted that it has created emojis for major Indian cultural moments such as Diwali, Ganesh Chaturthi, and International Day of Yoga to increase engagement among Indian users.
  • Promoted stickers: While dwindling ad revenue has been cited as Twitter India's Achilles' heel by multiple sources, Twitter noted that Pepsi used the company's latest ad product, 'Promoted #Stickers', to launch the #PepsiMojo campaign in India with nearly 50 custom stickers to popularise “Say It With Pepsi” on Twitter.

The Twitter spokesperson also noted that the company continues to hire for other positions in their offices across India and around the world, through their jobs listings section. Twitter India has offices in three locations in India— Delhi, Mumbai, and Bengaluru. The spokesperson clarified,

Only the global engineering workforce in Bengaluru is affected. We will still maintain a presence in Bengaluru with staff from other functions.

Global scenario

On the global front, Twitter saw Jack Dorsey return as CEO in June 2015, taking over the reins from then CEO Dick Costolo. Jack was tasked with the role of trying to fix Twitter. But even after showing signs of promise and also tweaking their offering to go beyond their standard 140-character limit and more recently acquiring machine learning startup Magic Pony to improve ‘visual experiences’ the company is still facing tough competition from social media competitors like Facebook and Snapchat.

Earlier this month, Recode noted that Twitter's board of directors would be meeting to discuss Twitter's fate as a standalone company and also ranked possible buyers with Google, Facebook, and Microsoft taking the top three spots.

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