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08 February, 2023
 
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New Twitter owner Elon Musk fires top execs

Musk 'frees bird' as he assures advertisers past criticism of content moderation rules won’t harm appeal

Source: Reuters

Elon Musk became Twitter Inc's (TWTR.N) owner on Thursday, firing top executives and providing little clarity over how he will achieve the lofty ambitions he has outlined for the influential social media platform.

The CEO of electric car maker Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) has said he wants to "defeat" spam bots on Twitter, make the algorithms that determine how content is presented to its users publicly available, and prevent the platform from becoming an echo chamber for hate and division, even as he limits censorship.

Yet Musk has not offered details on how he will achieve all this and who will run the company. He has said he plans to cut jobs, leaving Twitter's approximately 7,500 employees fretting about their future. He also said on Thursday he did not buy Twitter to make more money but "to try to help humanity, whom I love."

Musk terminated Twitter Chief Executive Parag Agrawal, Chief Financial Officer Ned Segal and legal affairs and policy chief Vijaya Gadde, according to people familiar with the matter. He had accused them of misleading him and Twitter investors over the number of fake accounts on the social media platform.

Twitter, Musk and the executives did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

'CHIEF TWIT'

Before closing the $44-billion acquisition, and never afraid to indulge in theatrics, Musk walked into Twitter's headquarters on Wednesday with a big grin and carrying a porcelain sink, subsequently tweeting "let that sink in." He changed his description in his Twitter profile to "Chief Twit."

He also tried to calm fears among employees that major layoffs are coming and assured advertisers that his past criticism of Twitter's content moderation rules would not harm its appeal.

He also said on Thursday he did not buy Twitter to make more money but 'to try to help humanity, whom I love'

"Twitter obviously cannot become a free-for-all hellscape, where anything can be said with no consequences!" Musk said in an open letter to advertisers on Thursday.

Musk has indicated he sees Twitter as a foundation for creating a "super app" that offers everything from money transfers to shopping and ride-hailing.

"The long-term potential for Twitter in my view is an order of magnitude greater than its current value," Musk said on Tesla's call with analysts on Oct. 19.

But Twitter is struggling to engage its most active users who are vital to the business. These "heavy tweeters" account for less than 10% of monthly overall users but generate 90% of all tweets and half of global revenue.

Musk also said in May he would reverse the ban on Donald Trump, who was removed after the attack on the U.S. Capitol, although the former U.S. president has said he won't return to the platform. He has instead launched his own social media app, Truth Social.

A representative for Trump did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

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Cyprus  |  Twitter  |  Elon Musk  |  social media  |  censorship  |  politics  |  technology

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