According to a source close to the transaction, Elon Musk has finalized his $44 billion purchase of Twitter, making him the richest man in the world and giving him control of one of the most important social media platforms in the world.
According to two persons with knowledge of the decision, Musk dismissed two additional executives, including the CEO Parag Agrawal. Twitter opted not to respond.
The deal’s completion lifts the uncertainty that has surrounded Twitter‘s operations, staff and stockholders for much of the year. Musk spent months attempting to back out of the agreement after initially agreeing to purchase the business in April, initially expressing worries about the number of bots on the platform and then charges made by a company whistleblower.
Musk and Twitter have avoided a trial that was initially scheduled to happen earlier this month by finalizing the agreement. But Musk’s takeover and the subsequent sacking of several of the company’s senior executives have brought up a number of new issues regarding the platform’s future and the many facets of society it has affected. According to the two sources, Musk also let go of his policy director Vijaya Gadde and CFO Ned Segal on Thursday.
According to Musk, Twitter’s content filtering procedures would be reexamined in the interest of a more maximalist interpretation of “free expression.” The billionaire has also stated that he disagrees with Twitter’s policy of permanently banning users who persistently break its rules, which raises the prospect that several problematic individuals who have already been banned from the site may reappear.
The majority of people will be curious to see how quickly Musk will allow former president Donald Trump to return to the platform, as he previously promised he would. Depending on the timing, such a change might have a significant impact on both the 2024 presidential race and the upcoming US midterm elections.
By taking those actions, Musk has the potential to completely alter the media and political landscape, transform online public discourse and undermine the conservative social media space that was largely created in response to complaints about Twitter and other mainstream services being blocked and subjected to restrictions.
Musk met with staff members at Twitter’s San Francisco offices earlier this week. Additionally, he sent an open letter to Twitter’s advertisers in which he expressed his concern that the social media site does not turn into a “free-for-all hellscape where anything may be uttered with no consequences.”
Additionally, the acquisition promises to increase Musk’s influence. The billionaire already owns, manages, or holds a sizable part in businesses creating satellite internet, vehicles, rockets, robotics and more avant-garde projects like brain implants. He currently has power over a social media network that affects how hundreds of millions of people communicate and get news.
A Deal That Went Off The Rails
The months-long agreement process with Musk was tumultuous, even for Twitter, a corporation notorious for some level of chaos during its history.
Musk, a well-known and contentious Twitter user got involved with the business earlier this year when he amassed a holding of more than 9% in its stock. Musk accepted and later declined an offer to join the Twitter board of directors after making the announcement that he had become the company’s largest shareholder.
Then Musk threatened a hostile takeover, offered to buy Twitter outright at a big premium and inked a “seller-friendly” arrangement to acquire the business that waived due diligence.
Soon after making an offer to purchase Twitter, Musk declared in an on-stage interview, “This is not a method to generate money.” “I have a strong instinctive sense that the continuation of civilization depends critically on having a public platform that is both widely trusted and inclusive,” the author says.
In addition, Musk vowed to “fight the spam bots or die trying,” a reference to the phoney and fraudulent accounts that are frequently particularly active in the comments section of his tweets and those of other users with sizable followings on the network.
However, within weeks of the acquisition agreement, Musk started voicing his displeasure about the popularity of those same phoney and spam accounts on Twitter and eventually made an attempt to end the arrangement.
Twitter said that Musk was using the bot argument as a ruse to back out of a contract for which he had had buyer’s remorse and they sued him to enforce the agreement. Many stocks on the market, including those of social media businesses, fell in the weeks following the announcement of the agreement due to worries about growing inflation and an impending recession. Tesla was impacted by the slump, which also reduced Musk’s personal wealth.
Legal professionals generally agreed that Twitter had a solid case to have the agreement upheld in court. Musk declared he would complete the deal on its original terms, after all, only two weeks before the heated legal dispute was scheduled to go to trial. Twitter objected to Musk’s request for a judge to halt the legal proceedings while the parties were negotiating because it was concerned that Musk may break his pledge to complete the purchase.
Twitter’s attorneys responded angrily, stating that Musk had been trying to back out of the contract and that “today, on the eve of trial, Defendants declare they plan to close after all. They say, “Trust us, we’re serious this time.
The parties had until 5 p.m. on October 28 to reach a settlement or risk having the trial postponed, according to Kathaleen St. Judge McCormick of the Delaware Chancery Court.
What’s next for Twitter
Now that the acquisition saga is over, the focus is shifting to Musk’s ambitions for Twitter.
Beyond the ouster of Twitter’s CEO and other executives, Musk’s takeover may also mark the restoration of part of founder Jack Dorsey’s power over the business. Dorsey resigned as CEO of the firm in November and left the board in May. Although Dorsey has declared he won’t formally rejoin Twitter, he has privately spoken with Musk about the deal and provided guidance.
In a move that might fundamentally alter every part of how Twitter runs, Musk is also said to have disclosed to potential investors in the deal that he intended to fire close to 75% of the company’s employees. In private text discussions with pals about the agreement, which were made public in court documents, he had previously discussed drastically cutting Twitter’s employment, and in a call with Twitter employees in June, he didn’t completely rule out the possibility of layoffs.
A beautiful thing about Twitter is how it empowers citizen journalism – people are able to disseminate news without an establishment bias
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 26, 2022
Many of Twitter’s current employees may not be needed under Musk. Musk has often stated that he would change Twitter’s content moderation guidelines and strengthen what he refers to as “free speech,” which may erase years of business efforts to combat misinformation and abuse and foster “healthier” interactions on the platform.
The social media environment might be affected by such a move as well. Despite being smaller than many of its social media competitors, Twitter has occasionally served as an example of how the sector should handle problematic content. One such instance was when it was the first to ban then-President Trump after the January 6 Capitol brawl.
Additionally, a number of alternative social networks have emerged in recent years, primarily catering to conservatives who complain that more mainstream services unnecessarily limit their freedom of speech. These services include Parler, which Kanye West reportedly declared he would buy, and Trump’s Truth Social. While it’s uncertain how far Musk could go in realizing his free speech ambitions, any relaxation of current content control guidelines could make Twitter—which has a considerably bigger audience—more alluring to users who have previously turned to that niche, smaller sites. (How far Musk goes in trying to relax content limitations, though, may determine whether or not he encounters regulatory problems, especially in Europe.)
Twitter Staff Letter to Elon Musk:
— Matt Navarra (@MattNavarra) October 25, 2022
In addition to content moderation, Musk has proposed a wide range of additional potential changes for the platform, such as enabling end-to-end encryption for Twitter’s direct messaging feature and, more recently, suggesting that Twitter join an “everything” app called X, perhaps in the manner of well-known Chinese app WeChat.
Musk has tried to sound upbeat about Twitter’s possibilities despite his months-long attempts to back out of the deal and his own recent statements that he is “clearly overpaying” for the firm.
On Tesla‘s earnings conference call last week, he remarked, “The long-term potential for Twitter, in my perspective, is an order of magnitude more than its current valuation.”
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Jessa Martin is the author of Nogmagazine, A professional in writing by day, and novelist by night, she received her bachelor of arts in film from Howard University and her master of arts in media studies from the New School. A Brooklyn native, she is a lover of naps, cookie dough, and beaches, currently residing in the borough she loves, most likely multitasking.