Elon Musk completes $44B Twitter purchase
Elon Musk has officially taken over Twitter after completing a $44 billion deal to acquire the social media network.
Musk, the world’s richest man, sacked three top employees, including CEO Parag Agrawal, in one of his first actions as CEO of the social media behemoth, various US-based media sources said on Thursday, citing people familiar with the case.
According to the sources, Chief Financial Officer Ned Segal and Vijaya Gadde, head of legal, policy, and trust, were also let go. Twitter’s general counsel, Sean Edgett, was also sacked.
Musk and Twitter have yet to confirm the firings.
The acquisition of the Tesla CEO brings to an end a six-month ordeal that saw Twitter originally reject Musk’s takeover offer and then sue him after the businessman signalled he might back out due to worries about spam accounts and allegations of bad cybersecurity standards.
The conversation about free speech in the digital era has been sparked by Musk’s interest in the platform. While many conservatives have hailed the takeover as a corrective to Big Tech’s censoring of politically incorrect views, detractors have expressed concerns that Musk’s reign could imply broad slather for hate speech and misinformation.
Musk, who characterises himself as a “free speech absolutist,” has criticised Twitter’s moderation practises and objected to censorship that exceeds legal limits. Musk announced in May that he would reinstate former US President Donald Trump’s Twitter account, which had been suspended for allegedly encouraging violence in the aftermath of the January 6 rioting at the US Capitol.
Musk has also expressed dissatisfaction with the platform’s reliance on advertising and is widely expected to oversee large job losses at the company, though he allegedly refuted a Washington Post report that he intends to remove 75 percent of the workforce.
In a lengthy message posted on Twitter before the purchase deadline on Friday, Musk, who earlier changed his Twitter bio to “Chief Twit”, denied any intention to turn Twitter into a “free-for-all hellscape”.
“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,” he said.
Musk, who has portrayed himself as a moderate, frequently weighs in on politics and has drawn criticism for unconventional recommendations for dealing with international flashpoints ranging from Taiwan to Ukraine.
Earlier this year, the billionaire stated that he would vote Republican in forthcoming elections since Democrats had become the “party of division and hatred,” but then stated that he backed moderate candidates from both parties.