“The bird is free:” Elon Musk begins Twitter reign by firing top bosses

Jessica Schladebeck

New York Daily News


Elon Musk is ready to “let the good times roll,” he tweeted Friday, after months of squabbling and drama leading up to his Twitter takeover.

The 51-year-old billionaire celebrated the milestone with his 110 million followers as the New York Stock Exchange began the process Friday morning to delist the micro-blogging platform. The world’s richest man formally acquired the company late Thursday, giving him control of one of the most-used social media outlets following a protracted legal battle, sparked by his efforts to back out of the $44 billion acquisition.

Twitter confirmed the completion of the deal in a securities filing on Friday.

“The bird is freed,” the Tesla tycoon tweeted, referencing the platform’s blue bird logo.

The comment is also an acknowledgement of Musk’s interest, as a self-proclaimed “free speech absolutist,” to scale back content moderation, which many critics fear could pave the way for hate speech and misinformation. He’s also expressed his desires to welcome back ousted tweeters, including former President Donald Trump and his ally, Roger Stone, who said he’s been “waiting patiently to regain my voice.”

“I will be digging in more today,” Musk tweeted early Friday in response to a conservative political podcaster who accused Twitter of favoring liberals while quietly drowning out conservative content.

By completing the deal, Musk dodged a trial with Twitter that would have been aimed at forcing him to follow through on the acquisition.

Twitter in April revealed it had agreed to sell to the SpaceX founder at $54.20 a share. He later tried to escape the deal — alleging the platform did not accurately disclose the number of bots and spam accounts on the site — leading the company to sue.

A Delaware judge had ordered that the deal be finalized by Friday.

In the weeks of uncertainty leading up to the acquisition, Musk traded barbs on Twitter with then-CEO Parag Agrawal, who has already been fired from his executive role, according to reports. The ex-Twitter head repeatedly attempted to defend himself against Musk’s claims, maintaining that less than 5% of tweeters are spam or bot accounts.

Musk remained unconvinced and often responded to Agrawal with snark, and even poop emojis.

Sources close to the matter said CFO Ned Segal and Chief Legal Counsel Vijaya Gadde were also booted alongside Agrawal. The fate of the rest of the company’s employees remained up in the air on Friday — the mercurial Musk recently said he planned to fire 75% of workers, but later walked back the comments.

Earlier Thursday, Musk vowed the platform would not become a “free-for-all hellscape” in a note aimed at soothing concerns of advertisers.

Musk has previously voiced his criticisms regarding Twitter’s reliance on ads, but in his note said he hoped to create a “common digital town square, where a range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner, without resorting to violence.”

He added, “I also very much believe that advertising when done right, can delight, entertain and inform you; it can show you a service or product or medical treatment that you never knew existed but is right for you. For this to be true, it is essential to show Twitter users advertising that is as relevant as possible to their needs.”

With News Wire Services

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