Elon Musk has taken control of Twitter.
The mega-billionaire’s $44 billion deal to acquire Twitter — following a six month saga during which Musk tried to back out of the pact and Twitter sued to enforce his buyout — officially closed Thursday, according to multiple reports. The world’s richest individual immediately fired several senior execs, including CEO Parag Agrawal; CFO Neg Segal; Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s head of legal, policy and trust, and safety; and general counsel Sean Edgett, the New York Times reported.
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Representatives for Twitter did not respond to requests for comment. Musk, who currently has more than 110 million followers on Twitter, has not commented on the deal closing. Last week, on Tesla’s Q3 earnings call, he said, “Although, obviously, myself and the other investors are obviously overpaying for Twitter right now, the long-term potential for Twitter in my view is an order of magnitude greater than its current value.”
What changes Musk might make now that he’s take Twitter private are not clear.
Layoffs are likely — but Musk this week told Twitter employees that he has no plans to cut 75% of the company’s workforce, according to a Bloomberg report.
He’s also spit-balled a number of ideas like requiring all Twitter users to be authenticated and charging businesses a fee to use the social network. In addition, Musk has said he wants to make Twitter adhere to principles of “free speech” — and has accused the company of censoring conservatives. Liberal advocates are worried the right-leaning Musk may roll back Twitter’s policies restricting hate speech and misinformation, or reverse Twitter’s permanent ban on Donald Trump.
In a letter posted to Twitter Thursday morning, seeking to calm the fears of advertisers, Musk said most of the speculation about why he’s buying Twitter has been wrong.
“The reason I acquired Twitter is because it is important to the future of civilization to have a common digital town square, where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner, without resorting to violence,” the tech mogul wrote.
Musk claimed he’s buying Twitter not “to make more money” but to “try to help humanity, whom I love.”
“Twitter obviously cannot become a free-for-all hellscape, where anything can be said with no consequences!” Musk wrote. “In addition to adhering to the laws of the land, our platform must be warm and welcoming to all, where you can choose your desired experience according to your preferences, just as you can choose, for example, to see movies or play video games ranging from all ages to mature.”
He added, “Fundamentally, Twitter aspires to be the most respected advertising platform in the world that strengthens your brand and grows your enterprise.”
Over the past two days, Musk has visited the company’s San Francisco offices in the past two days and changed the bio in his Twitter profile to “Chief Twit” and set his location as “Twitter HQ.” On Wednesday, he posted a video of himself walking into the building holding a sink. “Entering Twitter HQ – let that sink in!” he tweeted. On Thursday, he retweeted a photo of himself at the Twitter headquarters’ coffee bar.
Also on Thursday, Musk brought in some Tesla engineers to Twitter’s headquarters to “review” the social network’s code and “assess and explain to Musk what the company needs,” Bloomberg reported.
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