After months of twists and turns, the saga is over. Elon Musk, the head of Tesla and SpaceX, announced that he has completed the acquisition of Twitter, Thursday, October 27, for $44 billion. “The bird is free,” he tweeted, referring to the Twitter 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 in the Washington post.
Elon Musk had until Friday to complete the acquisition of the social network, otherwise a trial would have taken place in November. The operation has been dragging on since the announcement in late April. of a $44 billion takeover bid, reluctantly accepted by Twitter. The businessman tried to get rid of himself unilaterally in early July, accusing the company of having lied to him, but the company’s board of directors filed a lawsuit. Finally, just days before the filing of a lawsuit that Twitter appeared to be on its way to winning, Elon Musk offered to close the transaction at the initially agreed price.
Signs that the operation would take place within the time allowed by the justice multiplied this week. The richest man in the world notably visited Twitter’s headquarters in San Francisco on Wednesday and renamed himself “Chief Twit” in his profile – “twit” means “idiot” in English. And the New York Stock Exchange, where Twitter is listed, said the company’s stock would be suspended before trading opens on Friday.
Musk doesn’t 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 a “hellish” 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 be debated in a healthy way, without resorting to violence,” he wrote in a message aimed specifically at brands, which bring in most of Twitter’s revenue.
Introducing himself as a fervent defender of freedom of expression, the businessman has already hinted that he intends to facilitate content moderation, reigniting concerns about a possible resurgence of abuse and misinformation on the platform. He, for example, opened the door to the return of Donald Trump, who was ousted from Twitter shortly after the Capitol Hill attack in January 2021. This has turned away advertisers, who generally prefer to support their ads with consensual content.
In his message, Elon Musk guarantees that he did not initiate the acquisition 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 they can, for example, watch movies or play video games for all ages”, he specified.
Three-quarters of employees fired?
Elon Musk wants too strengthen the fight against spam. He also made cryptic allusions to “X”, his vision of an all-purpose app (messaging, social media, financial services, etc.) like WeChat in China. “Corporate culture is likely to change profoundly and quickly,” said Adam Badawi, a law professor at UC Berkeley.
According to an article by Washington post last week, the businessman told investors that he ultimately intended to lay off nearly 75% of Twitter’s 7,500 employees. “It hurt a lot of people,” notes one official, who spoke to AFP on condition of anonymity.
He calculated, based on internal numbers, that more than 700 employees had already left the Californian group since June. “These are quite voluntary departures, whether for ethical reasons or for basic financial reasons, because an unlisted company is less interesting”, he believes. The leader does indeed plan to take Twitter off the stock market.
Earlier this month, however, he told a conference that it was “essential” for Tesla to be listed on Wall Street, “because if the public doesn’t like what Tesla is doing, the public can buy stock and vote different”. “It’s very important that I can’t just do what I want”he added, hilarious.