Elon Musk Completes $44 Billion Deal to Own Twitter, fires CEO and others

The world’s richest man, Elon Musk, has completed his $44 billion takeover of Twitter, according to a filing with the US government.

Musk tweeted “the bird is freed” and later said “let the good times roll”.

A number of top executives, including the boss, Parag Agrawal, have reportedly been fired.

Agrawal and two other executives were escorted out of Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters on Thursday evening, Reuters reported.

Chief financial officer Ned Segal, and the firm’s top legal and policy executive, Vijaya Gadde, are leaving alongside Mr Agrawal, according to US media reports.

Twitter co-founder Biz Stone appeared to confirm the executives’ departure. In a tweet, he thanked all three for their “collective contribution to Twitter”, calling them “massive talents” and “beautiful humans”.

Meanwhile, Bret Taylor – who had served as Twitter’s chairman since last November – updated his LinkedIn profile to indicate that he was no longer in the post.

The completion of the deal brings to an end months of legal wrangling but it has prompted questions over the platform’s future direction.

A filing was made with the US Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday, confirming the takeover.

Meanwhile, the New York Stock Exchange said on Friday that trading in Twitter’s shares had been suspended, giving the reason as “merger effective”.

Musk, a self-styled “free speech absolutist”, has been critical of Twitter’s management and its moderation policies.

They clashed over the terms of the takeover, with Mr Musk accusing Twitter of providing misleading information about the firm’s user numbers.

He has also said he would reverse bans on suspended users, which could include former US President Donald Trump, who was excluded following the Capitol riot in January 2021.

Meanwhile, other reports say some key celebrities who held Twitter accounts have been ghosting their accounts in droves and that threatens the future of the short messaging social media platform.

The fear is that Musk’s obsession with free speech could mean people banned for hate speech or disinformation may be invited back to the platform. Apart from Trump, that could include political extremists, QAnon loyalists and Covid-19 deniers.

Even before Musk could roll out his plans for Twitter, the EU has signaled to him that Twitter will play their rules.

EU Commissioner for internal market, Thierry Breton tweeted “In Europe, the bird will fly by our EU rules” suggesting regulators will take a tough stance against any relaxation of Twitter’s policies.

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