Billionaire businessman Elon Musk officially took over Twitter late Thursday, taking the company private and off the New York Stock Exchange.
“The bird is freed,” Musk tweeted.
One of Musk’s first moves, according to reports, was to fire several top executives, including CEO Parag Agrawal and CFO Ned Segal. Twitter General Counsel Sean Edgett and Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s head of legal policy, trust and safety, were also let go.
On the eve of his Twitter takeover, Elon Musk promised advertisers that the social media platform will not become a “free-for-all hellscape.” Twitter, he insisted, should be “warm and welcoming to all” – the sort of advertising platform that organizations would gladly associate their brand with.
“Fundamentally, Twitter aspires to be the most respected advertising platform in the world that strengthens your brand and grows your enterprise,” Musk wrote in a message that he, of course, shared over Twitter.
While Musk wants to encourage free dialogue among the platform’s users, he said: “Twitter obviously cannot become a free-for-all hellscape, where anything can be said with no consequences!”
The deal closed after a months-long saga over whether Musk would indeed acquire Twitter for $44 billion. He faced a court-imposed deadline to seal the deal by Friday.
Musk and Twitter were set to go to court over the disputed acquisition deal, but Musk asked the Delaware court to cancel the October 17 trial date. The court quickly moved to stay the trial until October 28, giving the two parties time to close the deal. The Tesla CEO said he was ready to move forward with the deal if all of the litigation were dropped.
However, Musk’s insistence that he was ready to close the deal didn’t lessen the drama. According to the Washington Post, Musk plans to lay off 75% of Twitter’s workforce – around 5,600 employees. In spite of that downbeat rumor, Musk visited Twitter headquarters earlier this week with a clear sense of levity – he carried a sink inside, apparently for the sight gag.
Musk’s message reassuring advertisers comes amid reports that advertisers are worried about how he plans to handle the site. One of the concerns is that Musk will limit content moderation on the platform, leaving up potentially harmful or malicious messages that advertisers would want to avoid.
Musk insisted that Twitter should be “warm and welcoming to all, where you can choose your desired experience according to your preferences, just as you can choose, for example, to see movies or play video games ranging from all ages to mature.”
Check out his full message below:
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