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MySpace has starting laying people off, TechCrunch reports. A source close to the company said that the final tally could be 5% or more of total staff, “with engineering, sales and customer service taking the biggest hits.”

It’s not the same as regular layoffs, though; it turns out it may be simply an exercise in pruning, as the report put it. TechCrunch chief blogger Michael Arrington later spoke with Amit Kapur, MySpace’s COO. Kapur confirmed the layoffs but characterized them as performance-driven, and as part of a standard yearly review process.

“All of the employees we are letting go will be replaced,” he said in the interview. “We are also rewarding top performers. This is an important way to drive a streamlined business.”