Twitter is now officially in the hands of Elon Musk, the boss of Tesla and SpaceX, who concluded, Thursday, October 27, the acquisition of the social network for 44 billion dollars (44 billion euros). “The Bird is Freed”, tweeted the billionaire to formalize the operation, opening a new uncertain chapter for the platform at the heart of political and media life in the United States and many countries.
After months of a twist and turn saga, the world’s richest man immediately fired Twitter boss Parag Agrawal along with three other company executives – chief financial officer Ned Segal, chief business lawyers, Vijaya Gadde, and general counsel, Sean Edgett, according to unnamed sources from the washington post and of Bloomberg.
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 dragged on since the announcement, at the end of April, of an acquisition offer then reluctantly accepted by Twitter. The entrepreneur sought to get out of it unilaterally in early July, accusing the company of lying to him, but the company’s board took legal action.
At the beginning of the month, a few days before the opening of a lawsuit that Twitter seemed on track to win, Elon Musk finally 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. Elon Musk notably visited Twitter headquarters in San Francisco on Wednesday and renamed himself “Chief Twitter” on his profile – tweet meaning “cretin” in English. And the New York Stock Exchange, where Twitter is listed, announced that the company’s stock would be suspended before the opening of trading on Friday.
A return of Donald Trump?
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 platform. “hellish” where everything would be allowed.
He 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 a staunch defender of freedom of expression, the entrepreneur has already made it known that he intends to relax content moderation, rekindling concerns about a possible resurgence of abuse and misinformation on the platform. Elon Musk announced on Friday that he intended to equip the platform with a “content moderation board with very diverse viewpoints”. “No major decision on content or account reactivation will take place without the intervention of the council”said in his tweet the multi-billionaire.
From Friday, rapper Ye’s account, better known as Kanye West, was once again active on the platform. The artist had been suspended from the social network after numerous controversies, in particular anti-Semitic remarks published on his Twitter account.
Elon Musk has also 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.
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The former president of the United States was also delighted with the news of the takeover of the social network by Mr. Musk. “Twitter is now in good hands, and will no longer be run by radical left crazies who genuinely hate our country”, said Donald Trump on his network, Truth Social. The Republican billionaire, however, did not say whether he plans to return to Twitter, from which he was banned after the Capitol stormed.
In his message, Elon Musk assures that he did not initiate the takeover because it was ” easy “ Where “to make money”but for “trying 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 movies or play video games for all ages”he specified.
“A blow to a lot of people”
Elon Musk also wants to strengthen the fight against spam. He also made cryptic allusions to “X”its 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”, reacts Adam Badawi, professor of law at the University of Berkeley. According to a recent article by washington postthe businessman told investors that he ultimately intended to lay off nearly 75% of Twitter’s 7,500 employees. “It screwed up a lot of people”notes an employee, who spoke to Agence France-Presse on condition of anonymity.
He calculated, according to 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 says. The leader has, in fact, planned to take Twitter out of the stock market.
At the beginning of the month, Elon Musk had however declared, during a conference, but about Tesla, that he was ” essential “ that Tesla is listed on Wall Street, “because if the public doesn’t like what Tesla is doing, the public can buy stock and vote differently”. Before adding, hilarious: “It’s very important that I can’t just do what I want. »