Elon Musk, Tesla boss and world’s richest man, took control of Twitter on Thursday after completing the $44 billion acquisition of the social network, opening an uncertain new chapter for the platform at the heart of political life and media of the United States and many countries.
Elon Musk, the boss of Tesla and SpaceX, took control of Twitter on Thursday after concluding the acquisition of the social network for 44 billion dollars, according to several articles in the American specialized press. After months of a twists and turns saga, the world’s richest man immediately fired boss Parag Agrawal and two other executives, according to the Washington Post.
An operation that has dragged on since the end of April
After months of a twist and turn saga, the new boss immediately fired boss Parag Agrawal and two other executives, chief financial officer Ned Segal and chief legal officer Vijaya Gadde, according to unnamed CNBC and Washington sources. Post.
Elon Musk had until Friday to complete the acquisition of the social network, failing which a trial would have taken place in November. The operation has dragged on since the announcement at the end of April of a $44 billion acquisition offer, reluctantly accepted by Twitter. The entrepreneur sought to get out of it unilaterally in early July, accusing the company of having lied to him, but the company’s board of directors took legal action.
At the beginning of the month, a few days before the opening of a lawsuit that Twitter seemed on track to win, Elon Musk finally offered to close the transaction at the price initially agreed. On Wednesday, he went to Twitter headquarters in San Francisco and renamed himself “Chief Twit” on his profile – “twit” means “moron” in English. Thursday evening, when the layoffs were announced in the media, several employees of the Californian group showed their support for the former management. “Thank you to Parag Agrawl, Vijaya Gadde and Ned Segal for their collective contribution to Twitter”, wrote Biz Stone, co-founder of the network, praising their “tremendous talent” and their “humanity”.
Its takeover worries a large part of Twitter employees
In late April, shortly after signing the initial buyout deal, Elon Musk publicly criticized Twitter executives and mocked Vijaya Gadde. Its takeover worries a large part of Twitter employees, and many users and NGOs who call on social networks to better fight against abuse, from harassment to misinformation.
Because the multibillionaire, presenting himself as an ardent defender of freedom of expression, wants to relax the moderation of content. It opened the door to a return for Donald Trump, who was ousted from Twitter shortly after supporting his supporters who took part in the storming of the Capitol in January 2021.
Elected Republicans and supporters of Donald Trump have also welcomed the potential change in direction of Twitter. “FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION!!!”, for example tweeted Thursday evening Marjorie Taylor Greene, an elected representative of the far right. But advertisers generally prefer to back their ads with consensual content. Thursday, Elon Musk tried to reassure them by saying he wanted to allow all opinions to be expressed on the social network, without making it an “infernal” platform where everything would be allowed.
It is “important for the future of civilization to have an online public square where a wide variety of opinions can debate in a healthy way, without resorting to violence”, he wrote in a message specifically addressed to brands, which bring in the bulk of Twitter’s revenue. He also assures that he did not initiate the buyout because it was “easy” or “to make money”, but to “try to help humanity”.
Musk wants to take Twitter out of the stock market
Elon Musk also wants to strengthen the fight against spam. He also made cryptic allusions to “X”, his vision of an all-purpose application (messaging, social network, financial services, etc.), like WeChat in China. An employee, who spoke to AFP on condition of anonymity, calculated that more than 700 employees had left the California group since June, based on internal figures. “These are rather voluntary departures, either for ethical reasons or for basely financial reasons, because an unlisted company is less interesting,” he believes.
The leader has, in fact, planned to take Twitter out of the stock market. Earlier this month, however, he told a conference that it was “essential” that Tesla be listed on Wall Street, “because if the public doesn’t like what Tesla is doing, the public can buy shares and vote differently”. “It’s very important that I can’t just do what I want,” he added, laughing.