MySpace Declares War on Bloat, Lays Off Almost 30 Percent

News Corp. is preparing to lay off nearly 30 percent of MySpace staff as part of a move to reduce bloat and cut costs at the social networking giant. The move, which will affect all U.S. divisions, will lower MySpace’s domestic headcount to 1,000.

“Simply put, our staffing levels were bloated and hindered our ability to be an efficient and nimble team-oriented company, Owen Van Natta, recently appointed CEO, said in a statement.

The cuts come as MySpace falls behind chief rival Facebook in the U.S., according to comScore. The research firm said Facebook registered 70.28 million U.S. unique visitors in May, compared with MySpace’s 70.26 million.

The news about the layoffs also follows reports that have suggested upheaval at MySpace may be more turbulent than was previously thought.

According to sources cited by the Guardian, the company may soon close offices in California, Italy, France, and Spain. MySpace declined to comment on the report.

Earlier this spring, News Corp. took a series of steps designed to make MySpace more competitive. The changes began with a shake-up of top brass in April, initiated by News Corp.’s new President, Chief Digital Officer Jonathan Miller. Founder Chris DeWolf was shown the door, and replaced by former Facebook exec Van Natta. His hire was followed by those of digital heavyweights Jason Hirschhorn as chief product officer and Michael Jones as chief operating officer.

“I understand that these changes are painful for many,” Van Natta said. “They are also necessary for the long-term health and culture of MySpace. Our intent is to return to an environment of innovation that is centered on our user and our product.”

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