Loading...

Musk Pledges Big Changes After Buying Twitter for $44B

October 28, 2022 by Tom Ramstack
Musk Pledges Big Changes After Buying Twitter for $44B
Elon Musk speaks at the SATELLITE Conference and Exhibition on March 9, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

WASHINGTON — Elon Musk completed his $44 billion buyout of Twitter late Thursday.

One of his first acts was to fire top executives of one of the world’s most influential social media companies.

The multibillion-dollar company dropped off the New York Stock Exchange at the opening Friday as it converted from a publicly owned corporation to a private enterprise owned by Musk, the world’s richest man.

Musk has said he would lay off about 75% of Twitter’s employees in an efficiency move. 

Twitter operates with about 237.8 million daily active users worldwide.

Although he has criticized Twitter for its content moderation, he pledged to retain controls to block extremist and pornographic messaging. He also said he would improve the content by converting it to a “town square” with fewer restrictions on tweets.

“Twitter obviously cannot become a free-for-all hellscape, where anything can be said with no consequences!” Musk tweeted Thursday.

He added, “The bird is freed.”

Musk was faced with an ultimatum by a Delaware Court of Chancery judge to either close the deal by Friday or face a civil trial for trying to back out of it. Pretrial losses with motions Musk’s attorneys filed indicated his chances of winning the legal fight were small.

Musk agreed earlier this year to buy the company for $44 billion but changed his mind after he discovered internal problems. They included what he called exaggerated numbers of accounts, overvaluation of assets and undisclosed liability risks.

Musk blamed Twitter’s lack of disclosure for his decision to cancel the deal. Twitter executives responded by suing to force Musk to complete the purchase at the $44 billion price, or $54.20 per share.

Twitter employees wrote an open letter to Musk this week in anticipation of the deal closing that asked their new boss not to fire them.

“Elon Musk’s plan to lay off 75% of Twitter workers will hurt Twitter’s ability to serve the public conversation,” the letter says. “A threat of this magnitude is reckless, undermines our users’ and customers’ trust in our platform, and is a transparent act of worker intimidation. We demand to be treated with dignity and to not be treated as mere pawns in a game played by billionaires.”

On Friday, Musk met with Twitter’s 7,500 employees to inform them what was happening with their company.

Musk is chief executive officer of automotive company Tesla and space flight company SpaceX but has no experience running a social media platform.

Musk has said he wants to revamp standards for monitoring hateful content and misinformation. He said Twitter’s censorship reflects a liberal orientation.

In one example, Twitter banned Donald Trump for life for inciting the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol building. Musk said he would restore Trump’s account.

Trump responded by writing on his own social network, Truth Social, that he is “very happy that Twitter is now in sane hands.”

Former Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey claimed to remain politically neutral but Musk has openly discussed his political and Republican preferences. In recent weeks, he has offered to help Ukraine maintain satellite communications in its war with Russia.

New products Musk plans to offer would include subscriptions for exclusive content from popular social media influencers.

He showed his interest in acquiring the company initially last April when he purchased 9% of Twitter’s stock, making him the biggest shareholder.

While he negotiated to buy the company, several members of the board of directors became angered over his criticisms of the way they managed the business. At one point in the negotiations, Musk threatened to start a competing social media company if the board did not let him buy Twitter.

Tom can be reached at tom@thewellnews.com and @TomRamstack

In The News

Health

Voting

Social Media

Twitter Poll Closes With Users Voting for Musk Exit as Chief

More than half of 17.5 million users who responded to a Twitter poll created by billionaire Elon Musk over whether... Read More

More than half of 17.5 million users who responded to a Twitter poll created by billionaire Elon Musk over whether he should step down as head of the company had voted yes by the time the poll closed Monday. There was no immediate announcement from Twitter,... Read More

Musk's Twitter Disbands Its Trust and Safety Advisory Group

Elon Musk's Twitter has dissolved its Trust and Safety Council, the advisory group of around 100 independent civil, human rights... Read More

Elon Musk's Twitter has dissolved its Trust and Safety Council, the advisory group of around 100 independent civil, human rights and other organizations that the company formed in 2016 to address hate speech, child exploitation, suicide, self-harm and other problems on the platform. The council had... Read More

November 23, 2022
by Dan McCue
White House Offers Up Thanksgiving ‘Talking Points’ to Get Through Thursday’s Dinner

WASHINGTON — Elon Musk may have invited former President Donald Trump back to Twitter, but it’s the Biden administration that... Read More

WASHINGTON — Elon Musk may have invited former President Donald Trump back to Twitter, but it’s the Biden administration that is taking full advantage of the social media platform for some pre-holiday messaging. In a Tweet posted shortly after 9 a.m. Wednesday, White House Chief of... Read More

November 10, 2022
by Dan McCue
FTC Taking Dim View of Musk Action Amid Twitter Turmoil

WASHINGTON — A letter posted to Twitter’s Slack feed by a company lawyer, detailing the utter chaos the social media... Read More

WASHINGTON — A letter posted to Twitter’s Slack feed by a company lawyer, detailing the utter chaos the social media outlet has descended into since Elon Musk took control of it, has prompted a rare public rebuke from the Federal Trade Commission. “We are tracking recent... Read More

October 28, 2022
by Tom Ramstack
Musk Pledges Big Changes After Buying Twitter for $44B

WASHINGTON — Elon Musk completed his $44 billion buyout of Twitter late Thursday. One of his first acts was to... Read More

WASHINGTON — Elon Musk completed his $44 billion buyout of Twitter late Thursday. One of his first acts was to fire top executives of one of the world’s most influential social media companies. The multibillion-dollar company dropped off the New York Stock Exchange at the opening... Read More

October 20, 2022
by Dan McCue
Texas Sues Google for Alleged Unauthorized Use of Residents’ Biometric Data

AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sued Google on Thursday, alleging the tech giant has unlawfully captured and... Read More

AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sued Google on Thursday, alleging the tech giant has unlawfully captured and used the biometric data of millions of Texans without properly obtaining their informed consent to do so.  The 32-page complaint, filed in Midland County State District Court,... Read More

News From The Well