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Musk Begins His Twitter Ownership With Firings, Declares The 'Bird Is Freed'

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After closing the deal for $44 billion


Elon Musk has taken ownership of Twitter Inc with brutal efficiency, firing top executives but providing little clarity over how he will achieve the ambitions he has outlined for the influential social media platform. (Reuters).

"The bird is freed," he tweeted after he completed his $44 billion acquisition on Thursday, referencing Twitter's bird logo in an apparent nod to his desire to see the company have fewer limits on content that can be posted.

The CEO of electric car maker Tesla Inc and self-described free speech absolutist has, however, also said he wants to prevent the platform from becoming an echo chamber for hate and division.

Other goals include wanting to "defeat" spam bots on Twitter and make the algorithms that determine how content is presented to its users publicly available.

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 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."

Less that 10% of 266 Twitter employees who participated in a poll on messaging app Blind expected to still have their jobs in three months. Blind allows employees to air grievances anonymously after they sign up with corporate emails.

Musk fired 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 platform.

Agrawal and Segal were in Twitter's San Francisco headquarters when the deal closed and were escorted out, the sources added.

Musk, who also runs rocket company SpaceX, plans to become Twitter's interim CEO according to a person familiar with the matter and following an earlier report by Reuters. Musk also plans to scrap permanent bans on users, Bloomberg said, citing a person familiar with the matter.

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

'CHIEF TWIT'

Before closing the deal, Musk walked into Twitter's headquarters on Wednesday with a big grin and a porcelain sink, subsequently tweeting "let that sink in." He changed his Twitter profile description to "Chief Twit."

Musk said in May he would reverse Twitter's ban on Donald Trump, who's account was removed after the attack on the U.S. Capitol. A representative for Trump did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment, but the former U.S. president previously said he won't return to the platform and has instead launched his own social media app, Truth Social.

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

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