Elon Musk, owner of Tesla and SpaceX, on Thursday took control of the social network Twitter after concluding its purchase for 44 billion dollars, according to several articles in the U.S. specialized press; reports AFP.
A few hours earlier, Musk had confirmed that he was going to buy the social network and said he was doing it “for the future of civilization”, with just over 24 hours left before the expiration of the deadline given by a judge to open a process if the purchase was not formalized.
After a few months of back and forth, the world’s richest man sacked with immediate effect the company’s CEO, Parag Agrawal, and two other top executives – the chief financial officer, Ned Segal, and the head of policy and legal affairs, Vijaya Gadde – according to the Washington Post.
Agrawal and Segal were at Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters when the deal closed and were escorted out, the sources added, Reuters reports. Musk had until Friday to close the purchase of the social network, otherwise a trial would have been held in November.
The deal had been dragging on since he launched a $44 billion buyout offer in late April, which Twitter reluctantly accepted.
The billionaire then tried to unilaterally reverse the deal in early July, accusing the company of lying to him, but the social network’s board took the matter to court.
The world’s richest man went to the company’s headquarters on Wednesday, and on his Twitter profile changed his introduction to “Chief Twit,” an irony since ‘twit’ means cretin in English, punning on ‘chief tweeter.’
In addition, the New York Stock Exchange, the exchange where Twitter is listed, indicated that the platform’s stock would be suspended from trading on Friday before the open of trading.
Musk sought to reassure advertisers by assuring on Thursday that he wants to allow expressions of all opinions on the social network, without making it a “hellish” platform where everything will be allowed.
“It is important for the future of civilization to have a public space online where a wide variety of opinions can debate in a healthy manner, without resorting to violence,” he wrote in a message aimed at brands, which provide the majority of Twitter’s revenue.
A self-appointed champion of free speech, he has indicated that he plans to relax content moderation, fueling fears of increased abuse and misinformation on the platform.
He opened, among other things, the door to a return of the former president of the United States, Donald Trump, vetoed after the assault on the Capitol by his followers in 2021.
A stance that causes rejection among certain advertisers who usually prefer to see their advertising associated with moderate content.
In his message, Musk stated that he is not looking to “make money” with this purchase but to “try to help humanity”. “In addition to respecting the laws, our platform must be welcoming to everyone,” he argued.
Message “to advertisers”
Elon first cited that “it is important for the future of civilization to have a common digital square where a broad spectrum of beliefs can be debated in a healthy way”.
He also said that advertising will have a relevant place in the network from now on.
Musk pointed out in his message that social networks run the risk of increasing the polarization of public opinion between the extreme right and the extreme left, something in which, he said, the traditional media have also fallen, and added that he wants to contribute to overcoming this risk “to help the Humanity” he loves, and “not to make money”, said the world’s richest man.
Dear Twitter Advertisers pic.twitter.com/GMwHmInPAS
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 27, 2022
The tycoon says that according to his vision Twitter “cannot become a free hell for everyone, where you can say anything without consequences”, but must “respect the laws”.
The platform must become “a warm and welcoming place for everyone, where everyone can choose their desired experience according to their preferences.”
About advertising on Twitter, he says that ads, “if well understood, can entertain, please and inform” the user, explaining for example that there is a new medical treatment.
“Fundamentally,” he concludes in his message to advertisers, Twitter aims to become “the world’s most respected advertising platform that will strengthen your brands and grow your business. Let’s build something extraordinary together.
Objective ‘X’: a global application
Musk also wants to strengthen the fight against ‘spams’ and made cryptic references to ‘X’, his vision of a global application that includes messaging, social networks, financial services… as WeChat does in China.
After the purchase, “the company’s culture could change profoundly, and quickly,” noted Adam Badawi, a law professor at UC Berkeley.
According to a Washington Post article last week, Musk informed investors that he expected, in the long term, to lay off 75% of Twitter’s 7,500 employees.
“That was a blow to a lot of people,” one of the employees told AFP under anonymity.
Doubts about its share price
According to internal company figures, more than 700 employees have already left the Californian group since June. “They are rather voluntary departures, either for ethical reasons, or for purely financial reasons. Because a company that is not listed is less interesting,” he said, referring to Musk’s interest in taking Twitter off the stock exchange.
The billionaire stated earlier this month that it is “essential” that another of his companies, Tesla, be listed on Wall Street, “because if the public doesn’t like what Tesla does, the public can buy stock and vote differently.”
“It’s very important that I can’t just do what I want,” he added
Musk plans to lift block on Donald Trump on Twitter
In fact, his latest tweet marks the line that seems to be followed by the entrepreneur: “The bird is freed,” he wrote on the platform.
the bird is freed
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 28, 2022
The tycoon has recently been very critical of the platform’s moderation policies. Earlier this year he launched a poll for his followers, who he reminded that “freedom of speech is essential to a functioning democracy” and asked if they felt Twitter adhered “rigorously” to this principle.
Earlier, in another survey, he had raised the need for Twitter’s algorithm to be open source.
The return of the ‘vetoed’ and Trump
Could this mean that the platform will once again embrace Donald Trump? Last May, Musk criticized Twitter’s decision to permanently ban the former president after the January 6, 2021 assault on Capitol Hill. “To be clear, I think it was a bad moral decision and extremely absurd,” the entrepreneur said at a forum on the future of the automobile organized by the Financial Times newspaper in San Francisco.
“It was wrong to veto Trump, and I think it was wrong because it alienated a part of the country and also shut up Donald Trump,” Musk added days later.
“If there are tweets that are wrong and bad they should be deleted or invisible,” added Musk, for whom a permanent ban like the one applied with the tycoon “is not the right thing to do.”
The former CEO for his part has assured that even if Musk allows him to return to Twitter, he has no intention of doing so, and will continue to use his own social network, TRUTH Social, as his only option. “I’m not going to Twitter, I’m going to stay on TRUTH (truth),” Trump said in remarks to the Fox television network in late April.
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