Top Twitter executives fired as Elon Musk takeover begins

Top Twitter executives fired as Elon Musk takeover begins

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SAN FRANCISCO — Elon Musk became the owner of Twitter Thursday night at the close of his $44 billion deal to take over the company, marking a new era for one of the world’s most influential social media platforms.

As one of his first moves, he fired several senior Twitter executives, according to three people familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive issues. One of them confirmed that the deal was closed.

CEO Parag Agrawal, CFO Ned Segal and Vijaya Gadde, head of legal, trust and safety policy, have all been fired, people say. Sean Edgett, the company’s general counsel, was also kicked out, one of the people said. Senior leaders were hastily evacuated from the building, the people said.

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Musk’s moves late Thursday signal his intentions to firmly put his stamp on one of the world’s most influential social media companies. Musk has publicly criticized Twitter’s outgoing leadership over product decisions and content moderation, while saying he would reinstate former President Donald Trump’s account.

Still, “Twitter obviously cannot become a free-for-all hellscape, where anything can be said without consequences!” Musk tweeted on Thursday.

The deal’s conclusion ended a months-long rollercoaster saga in which the billionaire – the world’s richest person – led a hostile takeover bid to buy the company at an inflated price, only to reverse the deal. agreement and then get into a bitter legal battle. with the social network.

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But in recent days, Musk has appeared resigned, and even enthusiastic, about his impending ownership. He showed up unannounced at the company’s offices on Wednesday, carrying a sink to suggest that the message that he would become an owner should “sink in”, according to a photo he posted to his more than 100 million followers on Twitter.

He plans to hold a company-wide town hall on Friday.

Neither Twitter nor the executives immediately responded to a request for comment.

These decisions place the announced entrepreneur at the head of one of the most powerful communication platforms in the world just days before major elections in the United States and Brazil.

Musk, a transportation magnate who is also CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, gave some hints about what he would do when he takes over Twitter, despite having no experience running a social media service. .

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He suggested he wanted to relax standards for vetting harmful content such as misinformation and hate speech. He also denounced the so-called censorship of social media companies.

He has repeatedly criticized the company and supported online attacks against individual executives. He told potential investors and partners that he wanted to turn the company around financially by laying off nearly 75% of the workforce and looking into new business opportunities, including inviting people to subscribe to exclusive content from popular influencers on the Service.

Musk represents a different type of social media business owner than his predecessor, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, or his now-rival, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

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During his Twitter offering, he sometimes called himself a moderate, but also announced his intention to vote for a Republican president in 2024. He also weighed in on the geopolitical disputes between China and Taiwan and the war in Ukraine.

Inside Twitter, Musk’s arrival was met with resentment and dismay – although Musk’s visit on Wednesday left some hope. These hopes were quickly dashed by the dismissal of senior managers, who had gained the confidence of the staff in place.

The mood after Wednesday’s visit was “overall slightly more positive,” said an employee, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the company, adding “everyone is ready to close this chapter and move on.”

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