Elon Musk has closed his deal with Twitter and is officially the social media platform’s new owner after completing the tumultuous $44 billion purchase. One of the South African entrepreneur’s first acts was to sweep away the upper management by firing top executives at the company. Chief Executive Officer Parag Agrawal, Chief Financial Officer Ned Segal, Vijaya Gadde, the head of legal policy, trust, and safety, and Sean Edgett, the company’s general counsel, were all shown the door.
“The bird is freed,” wrote the new self-styled “Chief Twit.”
Free Speech Unfettered?
Musk explained his rationale for the buyout, writing in a public post to Twitter advertisers on Thursday, “There is currently great danger that social media will splinter into far right wing and far left wing echo chambers that generate more hate and divide our society … In the relentless pursuit of clicks, much of traditional media has fueled and catered to those polarized extremes, as they believe that is what brings in the money, but, in doing so, the opportunity for dialogue is lost.”
“That’s why I bought Twitter,” he continued. “I didn’t do it because it would be easy. I didn’t do it to make more money. I did it to try to help humanity, whom I love. And I do so with humility, recognizing that failure in pursuing this goal, despite our best efforts, is a very real possibility.”
The buyout certainly wasn’t easy. The deal nearly died as Musk threatened to walk away over allegations Twitter had misrepresented the number of fake accounts and spam bots flooding the site, a move to which the platform responded by initiating a lawsuit against the prospective buyer. Even outside these legal issues, the relationship between the blue bird and the eccentric billionaire has been rocky. Speculation abounds as to whether Musk will invite formerly banned users back to the platform, former President Donald Trump being the most contentious.
Now that the deal is done, however, Musk seems to have walked back – or, perhaps, merely clarified – his intention to make Twitter a haven for free speech. He tweeted Thursday that the platform must be “warm and welcoming to all” and not a “free-for-all hellscape,” insinuating that not every speech restriction will be lifted now that he’s the boss.
Musk Plans for the Future
As to what Musk’s initial projects for the platform will be, clues were given by a reply to a message from musician and author, Zuby, who suggested, “Twitter should find a way to compensate/monetisation partner with its top creators. Like every other social media app.” Musk responded simply, writing, “Absolutely.”
It is widely believed this purchase is the opening gambit in Musk’s attempt to create an “Everything Platform” similar to China’s social media behemoth WeChat. As part of the Tesla CEO’s X.com platform, Twitter would be just one arm of an app that can facilitate payments, ride-sharing, food delivery, and a range of other inbuilt services.
As the platform prepares to become a privately held company, dealing in shares has been suspended, according to the New York Stock Exchange website. The final day’s trading closed at $53.70, just below the previously agreed-upon price of $54.20 per share.
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