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Elon Musk completes $44 billion deal to own Twitter, removes Parag

EuropeElon Musk completes $44 billion deal to own Twitter, removes Parag

Elon Musk completes $44 billion deal to own Twitter and has promised other sweeping changes at Twitter, including new leadership, job cuts.

He did not waste time nor mince words and also began “cleaning the house”, by firing four top Twitter executives — including the CEO and chief financial officer on Thursday.  The Twitter executives who were fired Thursday include Parag Agrawal, the CEO; Ned Segal, the chief financial officer; Vijaya Gadde, the top legal and policy executive; and Sean Edgett, the general counsel, said two people with knowledge of the matter. At least one of the executives who was fired was escorted out of Twitter’s office, they said.

Elon Musk also promised the pursuit of new ways to make money and all this happened after months of delay, lawsuits, verbal name-calling, and the close step away from a full-blown trial.  Musk, who is one of Twitter’s most active users and has more than 109 million followers, began accumulating shares in the company this year.

In April, he struck the deal to buy the company for $44 billion and said he would lift Twitter’s content moderation policies, eradicate spam, add new features and provide more transparency about the algorithms used to promote content.

On Thursday night, Musk closed his $44 billion deal to buy the social media service, said three people with knowledge of the situation. He had arrived at Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters Wednesday and met with engineers and ad executives.

He shared a video “Entering Twitter HQ – let that sink in!”

 

The closing of the deal, which followed months of drama and legal challenges as Musk switched his mind about buying the company, sets Twitter on an uncertain course. Musk, a self-described “free speech absolutist,” has said that he wants to make the social media platform a more freewheeling place for all types of commentary and that he would “reverse the permanent ban” of former President Donald Trump from the service.

Musk’s open approach to speech on Twitter could exacerbate long-simmering issues of toxic content and misinformation, affecting political debates around the world. Early tests will come within days when Brazil elects its president and American voters go to the polls Nov. 8 for the midterm elections. Twitter said it would prohibit misleading claims about voting and the outcome of elections, but that was before Musk owned it.

“There could be real-world consequences to his leadership,” David Kaye, a law professor at the University of California, Irvine, who worked with the United Nations on issues of free speech, said of Musk’s ownership of Twitter. “To the extent that world leaders see they have this space and it’s unmoderated, they could push to see how far they can go.”

The acquisition has been celebrated by some Republicans, who have argued that Twitter censored conservative viewpoints. Researchers have said Twitter’s rules have been essential to countering online hate speech and disinformation. Some advertisers have worried about allowing their brands to appear alongside controversial tweets.

Musk, 51, will be remaking Twitter without having to disclose how it is performing every few months. By taking the company private, he does not need to regularly answer to shareholders and can make changes to the service away from the public’s prying eyes.

Musk, who also runs electric carmaker Tesla and rocket company SpaceX, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“Twitter has tremendous potential — I look forward to working with the company and the community of users to unlock it,” he said in a statement in April.

He sent out a message to Twitter users some hours back.  Elon Musk is very communicative and responsive to Twitter users and is looking for the big change on Twitter calling Twitter important for civilization as a common digital town square where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner without resorting to violence.

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