Elon Musk has taken control of Twitter after a protracted legal battle and months of uncertainty. The question now is what Tesla’s billionaire CEO will actually do with the social media platform.
Musk gave an indication of where he’s headed in a tweet on Friday, saying no decisions about content or account reinstatements will be made until a “content moderation board” is established. The council, he wrote it, would have different points of view.
Big personnel changes are expected, with Musk being pushed out. several senior Twitter executives Thursday. A fourth confirmed his departure, in a tweet.
But Musk, the tech guru and self-proclaimed “Chief Twit,” has made conflicting statements about his vision for the company and shared some concrete plans for how it will manage it after buying it for $44 billion.
That has left Twitter users, advertisers and employees scrutinizing his every move in an effort to guess where he might lead the company. Many are waiting to see if he will welcome several influential conservative figures banned for violating Twitter’s rules, speculation that is only heightened by upcoming elections in Brazil, the US and elsewhere.
“I’ll be digging deeper today,” he tweeted early Friday, in response to a conservative political podcaster who complained that the platform favors liberals and secretly demeans conservative voices.
Former President Donald Trump, an avid tweeter before he was banned, said Friday he was “very happy Twitter is now in good hands” but promoted his own social media site, Truth Social, which he launched after being told blocked the most used social network. platform.
Trump was ousted two days after the January 1 election. 6 attacks for a couple of tweets that, according to the company, continued cast doubt on the legitimacy of the presidential election and posed risks to the presidential inauguration that Trump said he would not attend.
Trump has repeatedly said he won’t return to Twitter even if his account is reinstated, though some allies question whether he will be able to resist as the announcement of another long-awaited presidential campaign nears. His Twitter account remained suspended on Friday.
Meanwhile, conservative personalities on the site began recirculating long-debunked conspiracy theories, including about COVID-19 and the 2020 election, in an ironic attempt to “test” whether Twitter’s policies on misinformation were still being enforced.
the mercurial musk It has not been easy to anticipate what he will do.
He has criticized Twitter’s reliance on advertisers, but made a statement on Thursday that seemed aimed at calming his fears. He has complained about the restrictions on freedom of expression on the platform, but later promised that he would not let it become “hell”. And for months it was not even clear if he wanted to control the company.
after musk signed a deal to acquire Twitter in April, he tried to back out, prompting the company to sue him to force him to go ahead with the acquisition. A judge del he had ordered the deal to be finalized on Friday.
Wedbush analyst Dan Ives estimated that Musk and his investors overpaid. Even Musk has said that Twitter’s $44 billion price tag was too high, but that the company had great potential.
The payment “will be one of the most overpaid technology acquisitions in the history of M&A deals on the street, in our opinion,” Ives wrote in a note to investors. “At a fair value that we would peg at roughly $25 billion, Musk’s purchase of Twitter remains a major head scratcher that he ultimately couldn’t get out of once the Delaware courts got involved.”
After months of uncertainty, a series of moves by Musk this week signaled the deal would go through.
On Wednesday, he walked into the company’s San Francisco headquarters with a porcelain sink and tweeted “Entering Twitter headquarters, let him in!” Then on Thursday, she tweeted, “the bird is released,” a reference to the Twitter logo.
On the same day, Musk fired CEO Parag Agrawal, CFO Ned Segal, and Chief Legal Counsel Vijaya Gadde. Sean Edgett, who had been Twitter’s general counsel, confirmed on Twitter Friday that he, too, is out of a job, posting that the company is full of amazing people. “Keep taking good care of this place, Tweagle,” he added, referring to the company name for Twitter’s legal department. Meanwhile, Gadde removed all references to his former employer from his Twitter bio, while trolls continued to post thousands of abusive messages in response to his most recent tweet.
As concerns about the direction of Twitter’s content moderation mount, EU Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton tweeted to Musk on Friday that “in Europe, the bird will fly by our rules.”
Breton and Musk met in May and appeared together in a video in which Musk said he agreed with the 27-nation bloc’s strict new online regulations. His Digital Services Law threatens big tech companies with billions in fines if they don’t monitor platforms more strictly for illegal or harmful content, such as hate speech and disinformation.
Musk also has spent months mocking Twitter “spam bots” and making sometimes contradictory pronouncements about Twitter’s problems and how to fix them.
On Thursday, he published a note intended to address concerns that his plans to promote free speech by reducing content moderation will open the floodgates to further online toxicity and drive users away. He showed a new emphasis on ad revenue, especially the need for Twitter to provide more “relevant ads,” which generally means targeted ads that are based on collecting and analyzing users’ personal information.
About 90% of Twitter’s revenue comes from advertising, but it’s far from the biggest digital marketing platform. Google, Amazon and Meta account for about 75% of digital ads. Twitter accounted for just 1% of global digital ad spending in 2022, according to a projection from Insider Intelligence.
Lou Paskalis, former head of media at Bank of America, said Twitter’s most loyal advertisers, many Fortune 100 companies, believe in the platform and probably won’t leave unless “some really bad things happen.” On Friday, General Motors announced that it had temporarily stopped its advertising on Twitter as it works to “understand the direction of the platform” under Musk’s ownership. GM described pausing as a normal step taken when a media platform experiences “significant change.”
The acquisition means that Twitter is becoming a private company. Its shares were suspended from trading on Friday and will be delisted from the New York Stock Exchange next month.
Associated Press writers Jill Colvin and Mae Anderson contributed to this report from New York. Follow AP’s coverage of Elon Musk: https://apnews.com/hub/elonmusk
This story has been updated to correct the language in Musk’s tweet to “the bird is released”, not “the bird has been released”.
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