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Updates: Elon Musk Takes Over Twitter

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The day Elon Musk spent a full day as the owner of Twitter, the social media company quickly started to feel his footsteps.

Twitter executives were fired and the board of directors dissolved.Company Said Its shares will stop trading on the New York Stock Exchange on November 8. Musk said he plans to set up a council to handle questions about content on Twitter and won’t be reinstating banned users any time soon. He also enlisted help from his best friend and set up a “war room” on Twitter to review products and policies.

On Twitter itself, some Republicans and conservative media personalities celebrated the new ownership. Several right-wing Twitter accounts spikedAlso, former President Donald J. Trump, who was banned from Twitter last year, used his own social platform to declare oneself “I’m so happy that Twitter is in the hands of sane people.”

The change and reaction has kicked off a new era for the social media service called World Townsquare, which is under the rule of the world’s richest man. He did not hesitate to complete the acquisition and make his presence known. A fickle and unpredictable innovator, he promised to transform his content service by relaxing its moderation rules, incorporating new technology, and making algorithms more transparent.

But Musk faces a myriad of challenges leading Twitter that override his responsibilities at Tesla, rocket maker SpaceX and several startups. European regulator While he quickly said he would scrutinize how he would change the service, advertisers and disinformation researchers have blamed the potential proliferation of harmful content and falsehoods on the platform.

Musk now also faces the challenge of actually running Twitter, a loss-making company with 7,500 employees and 240 million users. He didn’t immediately name an executive to lead the company on Friday, but he did try to appeal to the advertisers who provide most of Twitter’s revenue. Indebted, Mr. Musk has to pay lenders about $1 billion in interest each year.

On Friday, Mr. Musk indicated he was up for the challenge. “Let’s have a good time,” he said murmuredHe, along with Twitter, did not respond to requests for comment.

Tammy Madsen, a business professor at the University of Santa Clara’s Levey School of Business, said the changes on Twitter over the past 24 hours have sent Musk “a strong signal to employees that the world is changing.” But she cautioned, “You never know which way it will go.”

Musk has previously told investors that Twitter has big plans. This includes embedding his Twitter into “super apps” such as the one popular in Asia where social media, payments and messaging are all part of his one service. Musk says he’ll call it “all apps” X.

Musk also said that Twitter will add a subscription service to generate revenue directly from users instead of relying solely on advertisers. Such services may include offering you the option to use Twitter without displaying ads if you pay a fee.

On Wednesday, Musk arrived at Twitter’s headquarters in San Francisco and met with Twitter employees for the rest of the week, five people familiar with the meeting said. Twitter’s top executives, including CEO Parag Agrawal, chief financial officer, chief legal and policy officer and general counsel, were fired late Thursday.

Two people familiar with the matter said the executives thought they would wait until Friday before the deal went through. However, Musk’s funds were credited sooner than expected, prompting Musk to proceed with closing the deal and firing his executives on Thursday, they said.

Musk has set up a “war room” within the company to explore new acquisitions, two people said. Tesla employees and Musk’s trusted lieutenants also met with Twitter employees, he said. One, Musk’s personal attorney, Alex Spiro, said he had discussions with Twitter employees about content moderation and legal issues.

Patrick Hillman, chief strategy officer at cryptocurrency exchange Binance, which invested in Musk’s acquisition of Twitter, said: “Mr. let’s,” he said.

Other investors who funded Musk’s Twitter deal, including venture capitalist David Sachs, also met at the company on Friday, two people said. Kayvon Bakepur, Twitter’s former head of product, who was fired by Agrawal in May, was seen in the building, the three said.

Amid fears of layoffs, some Twitter employees have been instructed to print copies of code they’ve recently written so they could serve as proof of their work, according to two people familiar with the situation. Told. Three employees said they had not heard from the company and were relying on news reports. Twitter has also implemented a “code freeze” to prevent changes to the app, two people said.

Musk appeared to take a step back from his plans to make Twitter a haven for low-key, uninhibited comments.For months, disinformation researchers have warned against removing guardrails from the service. Some advertisers also said they were uncomfortable with Twitter allowing everything when it comes to speech. General Motors said it was temporarily suspending advertising on Twitter as it was “trying to understand the direction of the platform under new owners.”

“When Twitter becomes the go-to platform for the reckless, advertisers will run, not walk,” Bob Hoffman, the advertising industry veteran behind the Ad Contrarian Newsletter, said in an email. ‘ said.

Musk, who told advertisers this week that he aims to make Twitter “the most respected advertising platform in the world,” reinforced that sentiment on Friday. He revealed that he has no immediate plans to overturn Twitter’s content moderation policy and will establish a council to deliberate on speech issues. He said he had no intention of returning it.

“Twitter forms a content moderation council with broad and diverse perspectives,” he said. Tweet“No major content decisions or account recovery will be made before that council is convened.”

Evan Greer, director of digital advocacy group Fight for the Future, said the council was a “good idea” but ultimately Musk would have control over content decisions.

“He can form a council or dissolve it,” Greer said of Musk. “It’s a matter of him owning a company that has so much impact on our politics, culture and society.”

Conservative Twitter users, including lawmakers and Fox News hosts who accuse mainstream tech platforms of censoring their views, are happy Musk owns Twitter. I was there.

Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn said, “Elon Musk has said he will stand against Big Tech censorship and stand for free speech.” in a tweet“It’s something every freedom-loving person can put off.”

New activity on Twitter has also increased. Memetica’s research found that thousands of new accounts were created on the service 24 hours before Musk completed his deal with the company, leading to widespread new followers for some of the platform’s most influential far-right accounts. digital research firm.

At the same time, researchers found that Twitter accounts of progressive politicians and celebrities lost followers on Friday. Former President Barack Obama, New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, were one of his Twitter accounts to lose the most followers since Thursday. social bladea social media analytics company.

Several left-wing influencers begged their Twitter followers to continue the service without deleting their accounts.

Writer and pastor John Pavlovitz wrote to his 410,000 followers, “If decent moderates and leftists continue to abandon their platforms, we will allow the extremist right to own the narrative.” Allow me and I will not raise my voice to the truth.”

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Sheila FrenkelStuart Thompson, Tiffany Shoe, Mike Isaac When David McCabe contributed to the report.

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