Billionaire reportedly tells social media employees he could not rule out bankruptcy, two weeks after buying it for $44 billion — a deal that credit experts say has left Twitter's finances in a precarious position.

"Without significant subscription revenue, there is a good chance Twitter will not survive the upcoming economic downturn," Musk says in missives. (AP Archive)

Twitter owner Elon Musk has told employees that he is not sure how much run rate the company has and that bankruptcy is not out of the question, the managing editor of tech newsletter Platformer tweeted.

Musk was participating in an all-hands meeting with Twitter employees, a source told the Reuters news agency on Thursday. Twitter did not immediately reply to an emailed request for comment from Reuters.

Musk emailed Twitter employees, most working remotely, ordering them to return to the office immediately for at least 40 hours a week and warning of "difficult times ahead."

Two executives — Yoel Roth and Robin Wheeler — have resigned, one person close to the matter told Reuters.

Roth and Wheeler did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Bloomberg and tech site Platformer reported the exits first.

Earlier on Thursday, Twitter's Chief Security Officer Lea Kissner tweeted that she had quit.

Chief Privacy Officer Damien Kieran and Chief Compliance Officer Marianne Fogarty also resigned, according to an internal message posted to Twitter's Slack messaging system on Thursday by an attorney on its privacy team and seen by Reuters.

A pair of Wednesday night missives seen by The Associated Press marked Musk's first companywide message to employees who survived last week's mass layoffs. Many have had to rely on the billionaire Tesla CEO's public tweets for clues about Twitter's future.

"Sorry that this is my first email to the whole company, but there is no way to sugarcoat the message," wrote Musk, before he described a dire economic climate for businesses like Twitter that rely almost entirely on advertising to make money.

"Without significant subscription revenue, there is a good chance Twitter will not survive the upcoming economic downturn," Musk said. "We need roughly half of our revenue to be subscription."

Musk's memo followed a live-streamed conversation trying to assuage major advertisers on Wednesday, his most expansive public comments about Twitter's direction since he closed a $44 billion deal to buy the social media platform late last month and dismissed its top executives.

Musk told employees the "priority over the past 10 days" was to develop and launch Twitter's new subscription service for $7.99 a month that includes a blue check mark next to the name of paid members — the mark was previously only for verified accounts. 

READ MORE: Elon Musk disposes of over 19M Tesla shares a week after Twitter deal

Massive layoffs

In a second email to employees, Musk said the "absolute top priority" over the coming days is to suspend "bots/trolls/spam" exploiting the verified accounts. But Twitter now employs far fewer people to help him do that.

An executive last week said Twitter was cutting roughly 50 percent of its workforce, which numbered 7,500 earlier this year.

Musk had previously expressed distaste for Twitter's pandemic-era remote work policies that enabled team leaders to decide if employees had to show up in the office. On Wednesday, he ordered all employees to return to the office on Thursday.

Musk told employees in the email that "remote work is no longer allowed" and the road ahead is "arduous and will require intense work to succeed." He said he would personally review any request for an exception.

Twitter hasn't disclosed the total number of layoffs across its global workforce but told local and state officials in the US that it was cutting 784 workers at its San Francisco headquarters, about 200 elsewhere in California, more than 400 in New York City, more than 200 in Seattle and about 80 in Atlanta.

READ MORE: Users of Musk's Twitter can soon get blue check for $8 monthly fee

Source: TRTWorld and agencies