After months of twists and turns, the saga is over. Elon Musk, the boss of Tesla and SpaceX, has announced that it has completed the takeover of Twitter, Thursday, October 27, for $44 billion. “The bird is free,” he tweeted, referring to Twitter’s nickname – the blue bird.
He said earlier today that he was buying Twitter to “help humanity” and allow all opinions to be expressed freely on the social network.
The richest man in the world has immediately fired boss Parag Agrawal and two other executiveschief financial officer Ned Segal and head of legal affairs Vijaya Gadde, according to unnamed sources from the washington 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 been dragging on since the announcement at the end of April of a $44 billion takeover bid, 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. Finally, a few days before the opening of a lawsuit that Twitter seemed on track to win, Elon Musk offered to close the transaction at the price initially agreed.
The signs that the operation was going to take place within the time allowed by justice had multiplied this week. The richest man in the world notably visited the headquarters of Twitter in San Francisco on Wednesday and renamed himself “Chief Twit” on his profile – “twit” meaning “moron” in English. And the New York Stock Exchange, where Twitter is listed, said the company’s stock would be suspended before the opening of trading on Friday.
Musk does not want to make it a “hellish” platform
On Thursday, Elon Musk tried to reassure advertisers 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.
Presenting himself as an ardent defender of freedom of expression, the entrepreneur has already indicated that he intends ease content moderation, rekindling concerns about a possible resurgence of abuse and misinformation on the platform. He, for example, opened the door to a return of Donald Trump, ousted from Twitter shortly after the assault on the Capitol in January 2021. What put off advertisers, who generally prefer to back their ads with consensual content.
In his message, Elon Musk assures that he did not initiate the takeover because it was “easy” or “to make money”, but to “try to help humanity”. Users should be able to choose what they see on the network “according to their preferences, in the same way that you can for example watch films or play video games for all ages”, he specified.
Three-quarters of employees made redundant?
Elon Musk also wants 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. “Corporate culture is likely to change profoundly, and quickly,” said Adam Badawi, professor of law at the University of Berkeley.
According to an article from washington post last week, the businessman told investors that he ultimately intended to lay off almost 75% of Twitter’s 7,500 employees. “It screwed up a lot of people,” notes an employee, who spoke to AFP on condition of anonymity.
He calculated, based on internal figures, that more than 700 employees had already left the Californian group since June. “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 indeed 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, hilarious.