Elon Musk has completed a long-discussed $44 billion acquisition of Twitter, making him the owner of the social media behemoth.
the bird is freed
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 28, 2022
Musk, the world’s richest man, closed the deal and began to reshape the platform that he’s criticized for months over allegations of not being politically neutral by firing several executives, The New York Times, The Washington Post and CNN reported, citing unnamed sources.
Those fired Thursday include chief executive Parag Agrawal and chief financial officer Ned Segal, among others, according to the reports.
The completion of the deal comes a day after Musk dramatically entered Twitter’s headquarters in San Francisco on Wednesday with a sink in his arms. A video of his entrance was posted to his Twitter account, which is followed by more than 120 million people. The caption read “Entering Twitter HQ — let that sink in!”
Speculation — and concerns — over whether Musk would buy Twitter began when he became its largest stakeholder in April. Soon after, he offered to buy the platform in order to “unlock” its “extraordinary potential.”
The self-proclaimed free speech absolutist has attracted worry from critics over his hands-off approach to censorship and proclamations that he would reverse Twitter’s permanent ban on former President Donald Trump.
Trump, a former frequent user of the platform, was booted from Twitter two days following the Jan. 6, 2021, siege of the Capitol “due to the risk of further incitement of violence,” the social media company said.
Meanwhile, predominantly right-leaning politicians and pundits have viewed the deal as a guard to free speech as they view the banning of Trump and others from the platform as well as its efforts to verify content of some posts as an attack on their first amendment rights.
In an effort to assuage worries, Musk earlier Thursday issued an open letter to Twitter advertisers explaining he will prevent the platform from becoming 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 in a healthy manner, without resorting to violence,” he said. “There is currently great danger that social media will splinter into far right-wing and far left-wing echo chambers that generate more hate and divide our society.”
After the acquisition was announced, Stop the Deal, a coalition of nonprofit advocacy groups, including GLAAD and Media Matters for America, warned the deal will make Twitter “an even more hate-filled cesspool.”
“Musk’s plans will leave the platform more vulnerable to security threats, rampant disinformation and extremism just head of the midterm elections,” the coalition said in a statement.
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