Elon Musk took control of Twitter and fired its top executives late Thursday in a deal that puts one of the world’s leading platforms for global discourse in the hands of the world’s richest man.
After the takeover, Musk tweeted that “the bird is released,” referring to the company’s iconic avian logo.
He wasted no time firing CEO Parag Agrawal, as well as the company’s chief financial officer and its security chief, the Washington Post and CNBC reported, citing unnamed sources.
Agrawal previously went to court to force the Tesla boss to the terms of a deal he had tried to escape.
The acquisition came hours before a court-set deadline for Musk to close his on-again, off-again deal to buy the social media network.
Musk tweeted earlier in the day that he was buying Twitter “because it is important to the future of civilization to have a common digital square, where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy way.”
Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the departure of its top executives, but the platform’s co-founder Biz Stone thanked the trio, Agrawal, Ned Segal and Vijaya Gadde, for their “collective contribution on Twitter.”
“Massive tempters, all and beautiful humans each.”
– ‘Chief Twit’ –
The closing of the agreement marks the culmination of a long and drawn-out back and forth between the billionaire and the social network.
Musk tried to back out of the Twitter deal shortly after his unsolicited offer was accepted in April and said in July that he was canceling the contract because Twitter had been misled by the number of accounts. bot”, allegations denied by the company.
Twitter, in turn, tried to show that Musk was making excuses to leave simply because he changed his mind.
After Musk tried to rescind the sale, Twitter filed a lawsuit to keep Musk in the deal.
With a judgment looming, the unpredictable billionaire capitulated and revived his takeover plan.
Musk signaled the deal was on track this week by changing his Twitter profile to “Chief Twit” and posting a video of him walking into the company’s California headquarters carrying a sink.
“Let that sink in!” he joked.
He even shared a photo of himself socializing in a coffee shop at Twitter’s headquarters early Thursday.
Musk said during a recent Tesla earnings call that he was “excited” about the Twitter deal, even though he and investors are “overpaying.”
– Twitter free for all? –
Some employees who would rather not work for Musk have already left, said one worker who asked to remain anonymous to speak more freely.
“But some people, including me, are willing to give him the benefit of the doubt for now,” the employee said.
The idea of Musk running Twitter has alarmed activists who fear an increase in harassment and misinformation, with Musk himself known for trolling other Twitter users.
But Musk said he realizes Twitter “cannot become a hellscape where you can say anything without consequence.”
Musk has pledged to return content moderation to a bare minimum, and is expected to pave the way for former US President Donald Trump to return to the platform.
The then-president was blocked due to concerns that he would ignite more violence like the deadly attack on the Washington Capitol to overturn his election loss.
Far-right users were quick to rejoice online, posting comments such as “the masks don’t work” and other taunts, in the belief that moderation rules will now be relaxed.
“Freedom of speech will always prevail,” tweeted Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, prompting responses such as “says the party that bans books.”