Elon Musk took ownership of Twitter with top executive layoffs, but gave few details on how he will achieve the ambitions he has outlined for the social network.
“The bird was released“, he tweeted, after completing the $44 billion acquisition on Thursday, in a reference to Twitter’s logo, a bird, and in an apparent nod to his desire to lower content limits than can be posted by users.
Musk, who is also the chief executive of electric car maker Tesla and a self-declared free-speech absolutist, however, said he wants to prevent the platform from becoming an echo chamber for hate and segregation.
Other goals include “defeating” automated accounts – robot accounts – and making public the algorithms that determine how content is presented to users.
However, Musk did not elaborate on how he will put those claims into practice and who will run the company. He said he plans to cut jobs – Twitter has about 7,500 employees – and that he didn’t buy the company to make more money, but “to try to help humanity, which I love.”
Musk fired Twitter’s chief executive, Parag Agrawalthe financial director, Ned Segal, and the head of legal and policy affairs, Vijaya Gadde, according to sources. Musk accused executives of misleading him and investors about the number of fake accounts on the platform.
Agrawal and Segal were at Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters when the deal closed and were escorted out, the sources added.
Musk, who still runs rocket company SpaceX, plans to become the interim chief executive of Twitter. He also wants to end permanent user bans, Bloomberg told Bloomberg.
Twitter, Musk and executives did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Before closing the deal, Musk entered Twitter’s headquarters on Wednesday (26) with a big smile and a porcelain sink, according to a photo published on the social network, in which he wrote “let it drain”. He changed his Twitter profile description to Chief Twit (Head of Twitter).
Musk has tried to allay Twitter employees’ fears that big layoffs are ahead and told advertisers that their previous criticism of Twitter’s content moderation rules won’t detract from the social network’s appeal.
“Twitter obviously cannot become a free-for-all hell where anything can be said without consequences!” the billionaire said in an open letter to advertisers on Thursday.
European regulators also reiterated earlier warnings that, under Musk’s leadership, Twitter must still comply with the region’s Digital Services Act, which imposes hefty fines on companies if they fail to control illegal content.
“In Europe, the bird will fly according to EU rules“, tweeted Thierry Bretonthe block industry commissioner, this Friday morning.
Musk has indicated that he sees Twitter as a foundation for creating a “super app” that offers everything from money transfers to shopping and carpooling.
Musk will face a challenge to increase revenue”given that the controversial opinions that he seems to want to give more freedom are often unpalatable to advertisers”said Susannah Streeteranalyst of Hargreaves Lansdown.
Twitter shares ended trading yesterday up 0.3% at $53.86, just below the agreed trade price. The shares were withdrawn from the New York Stock Exchange this Friday.