CLAIM: Tech giants IBM, Google, and Microsoft have fired thousands of employees due to the disruption caused by artificial intelligence or AI



A Twitter-verified user falsely claimed on May 8 that three tech giants have fired thousands of employees due to the disruption caused by artificial intelligence or AI.

User, a “technology and AI educator” with 64,000 followers on Twitter, claimed without proof that “IBM just fired 7,800 people because of AI. Google 12,000 and Microsoft 10,000.”

The Twitter user then proceeded to promote a Microsoft search engine’s AI capabilities in his Twitter thread. The first tweet has been viewed more than 1.1 million times.

IBM however, did not say it had fired 7,800 people. On May 1, 2023, Reuters reported that IBM expected to pause new hiring because 7,800 jobs could later on be replaced by AI.

Reuters quoted Bloomberg News, who had interviewed IBM CEO Arvind Krishna.

Google did not directly attribute the layoffs of 12,000 workers to AI in its announcement way back in January. Business news site CNBC reported that the mass firings were due to economic conditions, including recession fears. 

The CNBC story was accompanied by the text of the memo sent out by Google CEO Sundar Pichai, who said the company had made investments to become an “AI-first” business.

Microsoft’s announcement, also made in January, likewise did not attribute the firing of 10,000 workers directly to AI, but to broader economic conditions.

CNBC pointed to slower revenue growth that came after the surge in demand brought about by pandemic remote work arrangements.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said on the company website: “We’re living through times of significant change, and as I meet with customers and partners, a few things are clear. First, as we saw customers accelerate their digital spend during the pandemic, we’re now seeing them optimize their digital spend to do more with less.”

“We’re also seeing organizations in every industry and geography exercise caution as some parts of the world are in a recession and other parts are anticipating one. At the same time, the next major wave of computing is being born with advances in AI, as we’re turning the world’s most advanced models into a new computing platform,” he added.


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