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TikTok cuts jobs as tech layoffs continue to mount

TikTok is the latest technology company to cut staff, as firms reorganize and re-allocate resources, just as the video-sharing app reports strong growth.
Matt Slocum
TikTok is the latest technology company to cut staff, as firms reorganize and re-allocate resources, just as the video-sharing app reports strong growth.

Updated January 22, 2024 at 8:29 PM ET

TikTok is laying off employees in an effort to reduce costs, according to employees at the video-sharing platform, making it the latest technology company to conduct a round of staff reductions in recent weeks.

About 60 employees were laid off, mostly in the company's sales and advertising division, according to a company spokesperson, who attributed the shakeup to a routine reorganization. The eliminated roles include workers in Los Angeles, New York, Austin and abroad.

The company has scheduled a townhall meeting set to take place Tuesday in the wake of the layoff announcement.

TikTok is one of the most popular apps in U.S., and it has about 7,000 employees in the country. Its China-based parent company, the tech giant ByteDance, has more than 150,000 workers spread across the globe.

While TikTok's ties to ByteDance have for years kept the service in the crosshairs of officials in Washington over national security fears, its growth has been immense.

The company says it has more than 150 million active users in the U.S. And at $225 billion, ByteDance is estimated to be the most valuable private company in the world.

The layoffs at TikTok at the latest sign of pain in the tech industry.

Other major tech companies, including Google and Amazon, have slashed thousands of employees so far this year, as the the entire sector shifts resources to the race to develop new generative AI tools, which many consider the next tech gold rush.

So far in 2024, there have been more than 10,000 tech jobs shed, according to tech job tracker site layoffs.fyi. It follows 2023, which was a punishing year for the tech industry, seeing the elimination of some 260,000 jobs in the tech sector, the highest reduction in tech jobs since mass terminations fueled by the pandemic. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg called 2023 "the Year of Efficiency," and the cost-trimming spree is still unfolding. But most Silicon Valley analysts expect the downsizing to be far smaller and more targeted than last year.

Tech industry watchers have cited everything from the industry reshuffling workforces to focus on artificial intelligence, lingering staff bloat from the pandemic to companies hoping to squeeze more profits for shareholders as reasons for the job losses.

Earlier this month, Amazon-owned Twitch laid off a third of its staff, or about 500 employees. CEO Dan Clancy wrote in a blog post that the company's staff had to be slashed in light of its "conservative" predictions about future growth.

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Bobby Allyn is a business reporter at NPR based in San Francisco. He covers technology and how Silicon Valley's largest companies are transforming how we live and reshaping society.