BREAKING NEWS: Done deal! Elon Musk formally takes over Twitter – as he fires ‘several’ top executives in his first power move
- Elon Musk on Thursday formally took control of Twitter, having made a high-profile visit to the San Francisco headquarters the day before
- As soon as his $44 billion takeover was finalized on Thursday night he fired the CEO, chief financial officer and head of legal policy, trust and safety
- Musk had publicly criticized the leadership team and challenged them over their policies, in particular regarding censorship
- The trio were escorted from the building on Thursday evening, The Washington Post reported
Elon Musk has formally taken over Twitter, and immediately fired several top executives according to a report.
Among those he sacked were CEO Parag Agrawal; the chief financial officer, Ned Segal, and the top lawyer for the firm, Vijaya Gadde, according to The Washington Post.
Gadde was reportedly in tears earlier this year when Musk’s $44 billion takeover was first reported.
Musk has publicly criticized Twitter’s existing leadership team – in particular, attacking their policies on content moderation and censorship. He has also sparred with them over data on how many accounts were bots or spam.
The three top Twitter executives were hastily shuttled from the building, sources told The Washington Post.
Musk posted a video of himself marching into Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters carrying a porcelain sink on Wednesday
Parag Agrawal (left), the CEO of Twitter, and Vijaya Gadde (right), Twitter’s top lawyer, have been fired by Musk according to reports
Ned Segal, chief financial officer for Twitter, has also been fired by Musk, according to reports
Musk himself took aim in April at Gadde for censoring stories about Hunter Biden’s laptop after it was reported she’d sobbed at news he’d bought the firm.
The tycoon issued a scathing tweet in response to reports Gadde, 48, had been crying at news of the deal.
He wrote: ‘Suspending the Twitter account of a major news organization for publishing a truthful story was obviously incredibly inappropriate.’
Musk was referring to the suspension of the New York Post’s account for its exclusive about Hunter Biden’s laptop in the run-up to the 2020 election.
Initially dismissed as ‘misinformation’ by liberal outlets and social media networks, the laptop and its contents have since been verified by many of the same publications.
Gadde – who was described as Twitter’s ‘moral authority’ – broke down in tears on April 25, Politico reported, while briefing her team via videolink on the future of the company under Musk.
Musk warned advertisers earlier on Thursday that Twitter cannot become a ‘hellscape’ under his ownership.
The Tesla CEO sent a tweet to advertisers on Thursday morning, saying that while he wants the social media giant to become a ‘digital town square’ it ‘obviously cannot become a free-for-all hellscape, where anything can be said with no consequences.’
On Wednesday, the billionaire changed his Twitter profile to identify himself as the ‘Chief Twit’ and posted a video of himself walking into the company’s San Francisco headquarters carrying a porcelain sink.
‘Our platform must be warm and welcoming to all,’ he wrote to advertisers Thursday, ‘where you can choose your desired experience according to your preferences, just as you can choose, for example, to see movies or play video games ranging from all ages to mature.’
He added that he ‘very much believes that advertising… can delight, entertain and inform you,’ saying that when done properly, advertising ‘can show you a service or product or medical treatment that you never knew existed, but is right for you.
‘For this to be true, it is essential to show Twitter users advertising that is as relevant as possible to their needs,’ the 51-year-old billionaire concluded in his letter, adding: ‘Low relevancy ads are spam, but highly relevant ads are actually content!’
Musk later agreed with a rapper on the platform, Zuby, who suggested that Twitter should ‘find a way to compensate’ monetize or partner ‘with its top creators, like every other social media app.’
‘Absolutely,’ the SpaceX founder wrote in response.
Musk confirmed on Thursday that he has bought Twitter ahead of a court-imposed deadline to seal his $44billion takeover of the company
The Tesla CEO sent a tweet to advertisers Thursday morning, saying that while he wants the social media giant to become a ‘digital town square’ it ‘obviously cannot become a free-for-all hellscape, where anything can be said with no consequences’
Musk also revealed his ‘motivation’ for buying the company in the open letter to advertisers, writing: ‘There has been much speculation about why I bought Twitter and what I think about advertising. Most of it is wrong.’
He said he acquired the company ‘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.’
But, the 51-year-old billionaire wrote, ‘much of traditional media has fueled and catered’ to either the far right or the far left ‘as they believe that is what brings in the money, but in doing so, the opportunity for dialogue is lost.
‘That is why I bought Twitter,’ Musk wrote. ‘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.’
He also changed his Twitter profile to identify himself as the ‘Chief Twit’ ahead of the court-imposed deadline to finalize his $44billion takeover
Meanwhile, Twitter staff remained on edge on Thursday.
He was later pictured on Wednesday speaking with some employees, reportedly denying rumors that he is culling three quarters of the staff.
But that did little to assuage the more than 7,500 people employed by the social media giant.
As one Twitter employee explained in an anonymous essay for Business Insider, those who remain at the company are worried about the Tesla CEO’s volatility.
‘I don’t think my colleagues and I have a good model for how volatile he is — and I can see that rocking the boat, especially if he makes more comments that make people say, “What the hell?”‘ the anonymous Twitter employee wrote.
‘There are also people here who are just unfazed by his volatility,’ they continued. ‘They’re not going to react in any way.’
The employee noted that their fellow workers’ views of their new boss will all be contingent on how many people he lays off.
‘People are asking, if heads are going to roll, whose good graces do you need to be in to stay?’ the employee wrote, adding: ‘Most people think layoffs are going to be pretty immediate.
‘I don’t think our site-reliability engineers need to be worried, though,’ they mused. ‘On the other hand, machine-learning engineers, or the people responsible for building experimental services are more worried.’
The Twitter employee then went on to say they would be most worried ‘if Musk decides to wipe out teams indiscriminately, because then it’s just a roll of the dice.’
In the meantime, several Twitter employees took to their social media platform to share how they are sticking together.
Stephanie Guevara, a senior iOS engineer for the platform, though, was more blunt — asking Musk directly: ‘Was it fun to look at the faces of the people you said you’d be laying off?’
And Parker Lyons expressed his nervousness about the new boss’ visit with a meme of a man on top of two tires lifting a sofa, captioned: ‘When Elon walks by your desk to see what you’re working on.’
Musk met with Twitter employees when he visited the San Francisco headquarters Wednesday
Following the visit, Stephanie Guevara, a senior iOS engineer for the platform, asked Musk directly: ‘Was it fun to look at the faces of the people you said you’d be laying off?’
Parker Lyons expressed his nervousness about the new boss’ visit with a meme of a man on top of two tires lifting a sofa, captioned: ‘When Elon walks by your desk to see what you’re working on’
Others just shared how they are sticking together during the takeover
Twitter management had already planned to cut staff after spending a whopping $1.5 billion last year on personnel, and had wanted to reduce that amount by some $800 million.
It also spent hundreds of millions of dollars in contracting firms that pay people to review reports of hate speech, child pornography and other rule-breaking content, corporate documents obtained by the Washington Post last week revealed.
Management also planned to make major cuts to its infrastructure, getting rid of data centers that keep the site functioning for more than 200 million users a day.
But Musk expanded on the idea of layoffs, telling employees in June he didn’t see a reason why low-performing workers should remain on the payroll.
He has also made clear he plans to loosen content moderation standards — which he claims are infringing on free speech — and restore former President Donald Trump’s account as soon as he takes ownership of the company.
Since then, though, the Tesla CEO has vowed to take a far lighter touch on suspending users who break Twitter’s rules on hate speech, having declared himself a strong believer in free speech.
The billionaire has found himself in hot water previously for some of his views, including comments on transgender issues.
In 2020, he tweeted that ‘pronouns suck’ – then hastily deleted the post and said: ‘I absolutely support trans, but all these pronouns are an aesthetic nightmare.’
He has also voiced support for Republican Florida governor Ron DeSantis, who tabled the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
Musk’s transgender daughter, Vivian Jenna Wilson, also cut ties with him earlier this year and said she ‘no longer [lives] with or wish to be related to my biological father in any way, shape or form’.
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