It’s being reported that Elon Musk has completed his purchase of Twitter and immediately fired the CEO, CFO as well as the executive in charge of legal, policy and trust.
Musk fired the CEO of Twitter, Parag Agrawal, the CFO Ned Segal and the general counsel and the head of legal, policy, and trust Vijaya Gadde (@vijaya).
Vijaya Gadde was in charge of making Twitter safe for users, working to remove hateful speech and misinformation. She was also the executive who played a key role in banning ex-president Donald Trump.
Image Tweeted of Elon Musk at Twitter HQ Coffee Bar
— Walter Isaacson (@WalterIsaacson) October 27, 2022
It is also reported that the CEO and CFO were fired and escorted out of the Twitter headquarters.
“He 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.”
Elon Musk Message to Twitter Advertisers
Musk tweeted an open letter to advertisers, seeking to explain what the future of advertising on Twitter will look like.
The message was vague on details and focused on aspirations for the kind of advertising he’d like to see.
“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.
Low relevancy ads are spam, but highly relevant ads are actually content!
Fundamentally, Twitter aspires to be the most respected advertising platform in the world that strengthens your brand and grows your enterprise. To everyone who has partnered with us, I thank you.
Let us build something extraordinary together.”
Elon Musk Explains Reason for Buying Twitter
In his open letter to advertisers he also outlined a vision for a social platform for all sides of issues, expressing the hope that Twitter can help them engage in debates in a “healthy manner.”
“The reason I acquired Twitter is because it is important to the future of civilization to have a common digital town square, where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner, without resorting to violence.
There is currently great danger that social media will splinter into far right wing and far left wing echo chambers that generate more hate and divide our society.
In the relentless pursuit of clicks, much of traditional media has fueled and catered to those polarized extremes, as they believe that is what brings in the money, but, in doing so the opportunity for dialogue is lost.”
Updated: Content Moderation, Free Speech & Control
Firing the general counsel who was in charge of moderating the speech at Twitter is a bold move that some in the Twitter community applauded but many others lamented.
Technology entrepreneur Anil Dash (LinkedIn profile), who is the CEO of Glitch and a board member of the digital freedom of speech and privacy organization Electronic Frontier Foundation, a had a negative experience on the first day of Musk’s ownership of Twitter.
“Every abuse report I made to Twitter under its new leadership yesterday was rejected, saying that the accounts are not violating policy.
Two were aimed at Black people, one was aimed at a Jewish person, each explicitly used the most common slur used to target those groups.”
In a blog post from April 2022, Anil Dash advanced the idea that the conversation surrounding Twitter and Facebook is not really about the right to free speech but rather it’s really a struggle between who controls social media and the social norms that will be allowed.
“It’s unusual to see the most powerful people in tech all bickering about who can control bad, broken technology.
But that’s what’s happening on Twitter and elsewhere as we’re seeing people assert that’s there’s a debate over content moderation or free speech.
That’s not true, of course. We’re not currently seeing a debate about “free speech”.
What we’re actually witnessing is just a debate about who controls the norms of a social network, and who gets free promotion from that network.”
Will Advertisers Have the Last Word?
It remains to be seen what the advertising landscape will look like now that the executive in charge of removing hate speech and misinformation is gone.
Advertisers generally don’t like to have their brands juxtaposed next to toxic tweets.
General Motors (a competitor of Musk’s Tesla), is reported to have suspended advertising.
As for those who use Twitter, many on Twitter were already celebrating the lifting of what they feel were oppressive restraints on their free speech.
I think many Twitter workers are breathing a sigh of relief that they now wont be dictated to by left wing zealots overlording them.
Theres genuine enthusiasm on many faces in the pic.
They will inherit the Twitter vacated by the corrupt divisionists.
— Mark (@MxJ61) October 27, 2022
Featured image by Shutterstock/baranq