MySpace, the social network owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, said it will cut its staff by 30 percent to lower its cost as it struggles to maintain its popularity in the face of rising competition.

MySpace will be left with about 1,000 employees, it said in a statement released on Tuesday. The cuts, which were presaged in several blog reports in recent weeks, are the biggest move so far by new management at the social network and an attempt, it said, to return the service to a start-up culture.

Simply put, our staffing levels were bloated and hindered by our ability to be an efficient and nimble team-oriented company, MySpace's new chief executive, Owen Van Natta, said in the statement.

I understand that these changes are painful for many, he added. They are also necessary for the long-term health and culture of MySpace.

News Corp's new digital media chief Jonathan Miller said that MySpace grew too big considering the realities of today's marketplace.

MySpace is facing increasing competition from rival social network Facebook. Facebook and Twitter, a website that lets people tell online followers what they are doing, also have surpassed MySpace in buzz and popularity in the technology and media worlds.

News Corp shares were down 33 cents, or 3.36 percent, to $9.48 on the Nasdaq stock market.

(Reporting by Robert MacMillan, editing by Dave Zimmerman)