On Thursday, Elon Musk closed his $44-billion deal to acquire Twitter — and had its four top executives fired.
The fired executives were Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal, CFO Ned Segal, top legal/policy executive Vijaya Gadde, and general counsel Sean Edgett, according to The New York Times.
Both Agrawal and Segal were actually escorted out of Twitter’s offices, according to Reuters, which also reported sources saying that Musk plans to act as interim CEO of the company.
“The bird is freed,” Musk — who has changed his Twitter profile descriptor to “Chief Twit” — crowed in a tweet following the deal’s closing.
While it would be surprising if the eccentric Musk did not immediately shake up the company, the unceremonious, high-profile firings could not have helped the morale of Twitter’s already shaken 7,500 employees, just a day after Musk felt compelled to visit Twitter’s headquarters and deny media reports that he plans to lay off 75% of them.
He subsequently tweeted out a video of himself (above) carrying a porcelain sink into the offices, captioned: “Let that sink in."
Yesterday also saw Musk post a typically over-the-top open message to Twitter advertisers jittery about just how wild West-like the social platform’s content will become under his ownership.
The message — in which Musk portrayed his Twitter acquisition as motivated by a desire to save free speech and thus humanity, but promised not to let Twitter become “a free-for-all hellscape” — may or may not have served to reassure advertisers, particularly since Musk has previously indicated that he will reinstate Donald Trump’s Twitter account.
But despite Musk’s assertions that he did not buy Twitter “to make more money,” the last-minute outreach attempts to advertisers and employees seem to speak to Musk’s concern about the financial future of Twitter, which is already worth less than the $44 billion he agreed to pay for it.
Following the deal closing, some Twitter users posted messages claiming they will quit the platform if Musk fails to live up to his claim that it will not be allowed to spin out of control, content-wise.
Meanwhile, Thierry Breton, commissioner for the internal market for the European Union, issued a warning to Musk.
“In Europe, the bird will fly by our rules,” he tweeted.
Under the EU’s Digital Services Act, which is expected to be implemented by 2024, large tech companies will be required to have moderation systems that ensure rapid removal of any illegal content, such as hate speech, child abuse and terrorism.
Companies that violate the standards could be fined up to 6% of their global annual revenues.
In his screed to advertisers, Musk vowed not to allow any illegal content on the platform.