TikTok has embarked on a global restructuring of its company, including layoffs, according to five people knowledgeable about the process.
The short video app, owned by Chinese parent company ByteDance, has rapidly expanded both its user base and workforce in recent years. Despite tensions with the Trump administration over fears it could be a tool of the Chinese government, TikTok reached more than 1 billion monthly active users in September and now has thousands of employees worldwide. Its rapid growth and success with younger users inspired Meta’s Instagram and Google’s YouTube to launch competitive short video products.
But on Monday morning, some workers in Europe were informed that their jobs were at stake and were told to expect invitations to meet with human resources in the coming weeks, according to company sources. Some British workers have been warned that job losses will occur in some departments within TikTok. When US-based employees started working hours later, some were told their position was being lifted.
The restructuring announced internally today will include layoffs and the closure of some vacant positions, an employee said, and will affect TikTok’s businesses in the US, EU and UK. Plans to expand some teams within the company have been shelved.
One of TikTok’s first executives outside of China, David Ortiz, a Snap veteran, announced on LinkedIn today that he would be leaving the company as his role was eliminated as part of “a much larger reorganization effort”.
A senior employee with knowledge of the changes did not deny that there was a restructuring involving job losses. A TikTok spokesperson who responded to a request for comment made this morning did not dispute the layoffs, but made no official comment at the time of publication.
TikTok joins the ranks of major tech companies and startups that have frozen or fired hiring in recent weeks as fears of an economic downturn reared its head. The company recently dropped plans to expand its live shopping platform TikTok Shop, which is seen as a major new source of revenue, in the United States and Europe. A former TikTok employee who left the company earlier this year says the restructuring was likely related to the broader economic climate. “I don’t think what’s happening here with the TikTok layoffs is anything different than what’s going on in big tech,” the former employee said.
Another TikTok employee says the layoffs targeted individuals and teams that managers believed were not contributing enough to the company, claiming the number of layoffs would be less than 100. Previous statements from TikTok and sources within the company suggest it has at least 10,000 employees in the US and Europe.
TikTok was founded in 2018 after ByteDance acquired Chinese startup Musical.ly. Rapid growth has allowed the company to reach milestones such as reaching 1 billion active users, pulling political oversight and playing a pivotal role in war much faster than older social networks like Facebook. “They’ve scaled at a rate we’ve never seen before,” said Brendan Gahan, partner and chief social officer at Mekanism, a New York-based marketing agency. He suspects the restructuring won’t do much to mitigate TikTok’s impact or popularity. “I can’t imagine a few layoffs being a sign of wider problems or anything that will slow their momentum.”
Ortiz, the director who announced his departure on LinkedIn, declined to speak to WIRED. In his post, he gestured to TikTok’s short but eventful journey. “Working at TikTok was quite a journey.”
This post TikTok starts layoffs in company-wide restructuring
was original published at “https://www.wired.com/story/tiktok-layoffs-company-wide-restructuring/”