Musk takes over Twitter ‘to help humanity,’ fires CEO Parag Agarwal
There was just one question hovering over the minds of Twitterati where the moves of Elon Musk, the eccentric billionaire owner of Tesla and SpaceX, on Twitter were concerned: will he, won’t he? For months he kept the company’s staff – and the media – guessing over his acquisition of the social media giant. Thursday turned out to be D-Day: the ‘Chief Twit’ finalised the $44-billion takeover.
“The bird is freed,” he proclaimed with a flourish, in an apparent reference to the bird logo. But his move has the 7,500-strong staff of the social media giant caged in utter apprehension about their future, though he has tried to calm their fears over the sackings. He also said he did not buy Twitter to make more money but "to try to help humanity, whom I love."
A proponent of free speech, he expressed his desire to have no curbs on content that can be posted. At the same time, his open note to advertisers read, "Twitter obviously cannot become a free-for-all hellscape, where anything can be said with no consequences!" The ‘man with a flair for the dramatic walked into the Twitter headquarters on Wednesday with a huge smirk on his face and a porcelain sink.
The message of the imminent takeover was clear: he wanted to “let that sink in.” As soon as he finalised the deal he went on a firing spree, sacking Twitter Chief Executive Parag Agrawal, Chief Financial Officer Ned Segal and legal affairs and policy chief Vijaya Gadde. He had charged them with leading him up the garden path on the number of fake accounts. Agrawal and Segal were in Twitter's San Francisco headquarters when the deal was clinched and were escorted out of the office.
He does not want the platform from becoming a sounding board for hate speeches. He also plans to scrap permanent bans on users. The move has warmed the cockles of the heart of Bollywood star Kangana Ranaut. She was turfed out of Twitter last year for breaching the norms on hate speech. She praised Musk’s takeover on Instagram and shared requests from fans to have her account restored.
Musk said recently he would reverse the ban on Donald Trump, who was removed after the attack on the US Capitol. The former American president has refused to return to the platform and has instead launched his own social media app, Truth Social. As news of the deal spread, some Twitter users said they were only too willing to quit the platform. "I will be happy to leave in a heartbeat if musk, well, acts as we all expect him to," said a user with the @mustlovedogsxo account.