Elon Musk has taken control of Twitter and fired its top executives, US media reported, in a deal that puts one of the main platforms for global discourse in the hands of the world’s richest man.
Mr. Musk fired Chief Executive Officer Parag Agrawal as well as the company’s chief financial officer and head of legal, trust and security, the Washington Post and CNBC reported late Thursday (local time), citing unnamed sources.
Mr. Agrawal went to court to force the Tesla chief to comply with the terms of the takeover deal he was trying to avoid.
The reports came hours before a court-ordered deadline for Mr Musk to close a deal to buy the social network.
Mr Musk tweeted on Thursday that he was buying Twitter “because it is important to the future of civilization to have a common digital town square where a wide range of beliefs can be discussed in a healthy way”.
The billionaire even shared a photo of himself chatting in a coffee shop at Twitter’s headquarters.
And the New York Stock Exchange posted a trading halt on Twitter ahead of Friday’s session.
Mr Musk tried to back out of the Twitter deal shortly after his unsolicited offer was accepted in April and said in July he was canceling the contract because Twitter had misled him about the number of fake “robot” accounts – allegations the company rejects. .
Twitter, in turn, tried to argue that Mr. Musk was making up excuses to leave simply because he changed his mind.
After Mr. Musk tried to stop the sale, Twitter filed a lawsuit to force Mr. Musk to honor the agreement.
Due to the impending trial, the unpredictable billionaire capitulated and resumed his takeover plan.
Mr Musk signaled the deal was on track this week by changing his Twitter profile to “Chief Twit” and posting a video of himself walking into the company’s California headquarters with a sink.
“Let it sink in!” he sneered.
Mr. Musk said during Tesla’s recent earnings call that he was “thrilled” about the Twitter deal, even though he and investors were “overpaying.”
Is Twitter free for all?
Some employees who did not want to work for Mr. Musk have already left, said the worker, who spoke on condition of anonymity to speak more freely.
“But some people, including me, want to give him up for now,” the employee said of Mr. Musk.
The idea of Mr. Musk running Twitter has alarmed activists who fear a surge in harassment and misinformation, with Musk himself known for trolling other Twitter users.
But Mr Musk said he understood Twitter “can’t become a free-for-all hellscape where you can say whatever you want without consequence”.
Mr Musk has promised to keep content moderation to a minimum and is expected to clear the way for former US President Donald Trump to return to the platform.
The then-president was blocked amid fears he would incite more violence, such as a deadly attack on the Capitol in Washington, to reverse his election defeat.