UNITED STATES: Elon Musk now owns Twitter after months of dithering, legal disputes, rhetorical mudslinging, and the narrow escape of a full-blown trial.
Late on Thursday, an investor in the company confirmed that Musk had completed his $44 billion deal to purchase the social media platform.
He has also started purging staff; on Thursday, he sacked at least four senior Twitter employees, including the CEO, Parag Agrawal, and CFO.
Chief Twit’s long journey
Early Twitter investments made by Musk initially went unnoticed by the general public. He started buying shares regularly in January, and by the middle of March, he had amassed a 5% ownership stake in the company.
In April, it was revealed that he was Twitter’s largest shareholder, and by the end of the month, a deal to buy the company for $44 billion had been made.
He declared that he would eliminate spam accounts while maintaining the platform’s status as a place for free speech.
Musk, a prolific Twitter user, started to have second thoughts about the purchase by the middle of May, citing worries that there were more phoney accounts on the site than Twitter had indicated.
He declared he had changed his mind about buying the firm in July. Twitter eventually filed a lawsuit against the billionaire to enforce the agreement, arguing that he was legally bound to the acquisition.
Early in October, Musk announced the revival of his takeover intentions for the business, subject to the suspension of legal processes. Finally, the blockbuster deal is closed, and Musk is now “chief Twit”.
“The bird is freed”
The world’s richest man, Elon Musk, sacked three top executives, including the CEO, Parag Agrawal, in one of his first moves at the helm of the social media behemoth, as per numerous American media outlets on Thursday, citing sources familiar with the situation.
Ned Segal, the chief financial officer, and Vijaya Gadde, the head of legal, policy, and trust, were also reportedly fired.
About terminating his employees, Musk tweeted, “the bird is freed.”
Concerning the number of phoney accounts on the social media network, Musk has accused them of deceiving him and Twitter investors.
After the completion of the deal, Agrawal and Segal were escorted from Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters.
Biz Stone, the co-founder of Twitter, expressed gratitude to Agrawal, Segal, and Gadde for their “collective contribution” to the company.
On the firing of employees, no further comment has been made by Twitter, Musk, or other executives.
Twitter’s moderation practices
Musk, who calls himself a “free speech absolutist,” has criticised Twitter’s moderation practises and objected to censorship that goes beyond what is required by law.
Musk declared in May that he would restore former US President Donald Trump’s Twitter account, which had been suspended for allegedly encouraging violence in the wake of the riots at the US Capitol on January 6.
Musk stated that life suspensions on Twitter would be lifted. Along with Trump, Alex Jones, Andrew Tate, Leafy, and Jayln will be returning to Twitter.
In a lengthy message posted on Twitter before the purchase, Elon Musk denied any intention of turning the platform into a “free-for-all hellscape”.
“The reason I acquired Twitter is 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 healthily, without resorting to violence,” said the billionaire.
Musk claimed that he purchased the social media network to benefit humanity and to create a “civilisation to have a common digital town square.”
Twitter is “an asset that has just sort of languished for a long time, but has incredible potential, although obviously myself and the other investors are overpaying for Twitter right now,” the founder of Tesla remarked on a recent earnings call.
X Super app
In a post, Musk stated that “X, the app for everything,” is part of his intentions for Twitter. The biggest wager made by Musk uses songs from China’s best hits of the decade.
Musk tweeted earlier this month, “Buying Twitter is an accelerant to creating X, the everything app.”
The concept of everything, also known as a super app, first appeared in Asia with businesses like WeChat, which allows users to do more than just send messages; they can also make payments, shop online, and hail a cab.
Users who had fewer options in an area where Google, Facebook, and other services were restricted found the all-in-one service to be appealing.
Musk has reportedly said he plans to develop one that will enable payments, allowing content creators to make money and reducing dependency on advertisements, based on a source with knowledge of the issue.
As per Scott Galloway, co-host of the technology podcast Pivot and a professor of marketing at New York University, there aren’t any super-apps in the United States because the barrier to entry is high and there are a tonne of available app options.