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MySpace is cutting nearly 30 per cent of its staff in a back-to-basics effort that puts its numbers more in line with social networking leader Facebook.

The News Corp.-owned social site said layoffs will affect its entire US operations, lowering the total number of staffers to about 1,000 in the country.

MySpace claims the cuts are part of its master plan to become a "more innovative, efficient, and entrepreneurial business." The company's News Corp. overlords recently tossed out its co-founder and chief executive Chris DeWolfe in favor of former Facebook executive Owen Van Natta to helm the transformation.

"Simply put, our staffing levels were bloated and hindered our ability to be an efficient and nimble team-oriented company," said Van Natta in a statement. "I understand that these changes are painful for many. 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."

News Corp.'s new digital chief, Jonathan Miller, added that the site "grew too big considering the realities of today's marketplace."

Said realities involve MySpace continuing to lose ground against Facebook, it's more popular social networking rival. According to web traffic-watcher comScore, Facebook surpassed MySpace globally in 2008 and last month eked ahead of MySpace's US numbers for the first time ever.

The Palo Alto, California-based Facebook has about 850 employees.

Obviously, MySpace has a lot of work in store to regain cred in the fickle world of Web 2.0. The crowd follows whoever is the flavor-of-the-day, and once the stench of uncoolness sets in, your name is effectively Mud. ®

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