Elon Musk took over Twitter Inc. on Thursday, firing top executives and providing little clarity about how he plans to achieve the lofty goals he has set for the influential social media platform. “The bird is freed,” he tweeted, referring to Twitter’s bird logo in an apparent reference to his desire for the company to have fewer restrictions on what can be posted.
Tesla Inc’s CEO, on the other hand, has stated that he wants to keep the platform from becoming an echo chamber for hate and division. Other goals include “defeating” spam bots on Twitter and making public the algorithms that determine how content is presented to its users.
Musk, however, has not provided details on how he will accomplish all of this or who will lead the company. He has stated that he intends to lay off employees, leaving Twitter’s approximately 7,500 employees concerned about their future. He also stated on Thursday that he purchased Twitter not to make more money, but rather to “try to help humanity, whom I love.” According to people familiar with the situation, Musk fired Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal, Chief Financial Officer Ned Segal, and legal affairs and policy chief Vijaya Gadde. He accused them of deceiving him and Twitter investors about the number of bogus accounts on the social media platform.
According to the sources, Agrawal and Segal were in Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters when the deal closed and were escorted out. Requests for comment from Twitter, Musk, and the executives were not immediately returned.
‘CHIEF TWITTER’ Musk walked into Twitter’s headquarters on Wednesday with a big grin and a porcelain sink, tweeting “let that sink in” before closing the $44 billion acquisition. He changed his Twitter profile description to “Chief Twit.”
the bird is freed
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 28, 2022
He also attempted to assuage employee fears of mass layoffs and reassured advertisers that his previous criticism of Twitter’s content moderation rules would not harm its appeal. “Obviously, Twitter cannot become a free-for-all hellscape where anything can be said without consequence!” Musk stated this in an open letter to advertisers published on Thursday.
In an indication of the challenges ahead, Bollywood actress Kangana Ranaut, who was banned from Twitter last year for violating its rules on hateful and abusive behaviour, praised Musk’s takeover on Instagram and shared fan requests to have her account restored. Musk also stated in May that he would lift the ban on Donald Trump, who was removed following the attack on the United States Capitol, though the former president has stated that he will not return to the platform. Instead, he has created his own social media app, Truth Social.
A representative for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters. Musk has also stated that he sees Twitter as a platform for developing a “super app” that will provide services ranging from money transfers to shopping and ride-hailing.
However, Twitter is having difficulty engaging its most active users, who are critical to the company’s success. These “heavy tweeters” account for less than 10% of all monthly users but generate 90% of all tweets and half of all global revenue. A SAGA
The transaction is the culmination of a remarkable saga full of twists and turns that cast doubt on Musk’s ability to complete the transaction. It all started on April 4, when Musk revealed a 9.2% stake in the company, making him the company’s largest shareholder. The world’s richest person then agreed to join Twitter’s board of directors, only to back out at the last minute and offer to buy the company for $54.20 per share instead, an offer that Twitter was unsure whether to interpret as another of Musk’s cannabis jokes.
Musk’s offer was genuine, and the two parties reached an agreement at the price he suggested in just one weekend later in April. This occurred in the absence of Musk performing any due diligence on the company’s confidential information, as is customary in an acquisition. Musk had second thoughts in the weeks that followed. He publicly stated that he believed Twitter’s spam accounts were significantly higher than Twitter’s estimate of less than 5% of its monetizable daily active users, as published in regulatory filings. His attorneys then accused Twitter of failing to respond to his requests for information on the subject.
Following the squabble, Musk informed Twitter on July 8 that he was terminating their agreement on the grounds that Twitter misled him about the bots and refused to cooperate with him. Four days later, Twitter filed a lawsuit in Delaware, where the company is incorporated, to compel Musk to complete the transaction. By then, shares of social media companies and the broader stock market had plummeted on fears that the Federal Reserve’s interest rate hikes to combat inflation would send the US economy into a slump. Musk was accused of having buyer’s remorse on Twitter, claiming he wanted out of the deal because he thought he overpaid.
According to most legal analysts, Twitter has the strongest arguments and will most likely win in court. Even after Twitter’s former security chief Peiter Zatko came forward as a whistleblower in August, alleging that the company failed to disclose security and data privacy flaws, their opinion did not change. On Oct. 4, just before being deposed by Twitter’s lawyers ahead of the start of their trial later that month, Musk made another U-turn and offered to complete the deal as promised. He did so just one day before an Oct. 28 deadline set by a Delaware judge to avoid going to trial.
Twitter shares closed up 0.3% in New York trade on Thursday, at $53.86, a small discount to the $54.20 per share deal price. On Friday, the stock will be delisted from the New York Stock Exchange.