AP sources: Musk in control of Twitter, ousts top executives

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Elon Musk has taken control of Twitter and ousted the CEO, chief financial officer and the company’s general counsel, two people familiar with the deal said Thursday night.

The people wouldn’t say if all the paperwork for the deal, originally valued at $44 billion, had been signed or if the deal has closed. But they said Musk is in charge of the social media platform and has fired CEO Parag Agrawal and the other executives. Neither person wanted to be identified because of the sensitive nature of the personnel moves.

The departures come just hours before a deadline set by a Delaware judge to finalize the deal on Friday. She threatened to schedule a trial if no agreement was reached.

Musk attempted to soothe leery Twitter advertisers Thursday, a day before a deadline to close out on his $44 billion acquisition of the social media platform, saying that he is buying the platform to help humanity and doesn’t want it to become a “free-for-all hellscape.”

The message appears aimed at addressing concerns among advertisers — Twitter’s chief source of revenue — that Musk’s plans to promote free speech by cutting back on moderating content will open the floodgates to more online toxicity and drive away users.

“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,” Musk wrote in an uncharacteristically long message for the Tesla CEO, who typically projects his thoughts in one-line tweets.

He continued: “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.”

Musk has previously expressed distaste for advertising and Twitter’s dependence on it, suggesting more emphasis on other business models such as paid subscriptions that won’t allow big corporations to dictate policy on how social media operates. But on Thursday, he assured advertisers he wants Twitter to be “the most respected advertising platform in the world.”

Musk said Twitter should be “warm and welcoming to all” and enable users to choose the experience they want to have.

“I didn’t do it to make money,” he said of the pending acquisition. “I did it to try to help humanity, whom I love. And I do so with humility, recognizing that failure in pursuing this goal, despite our best efforts, is a very real possibility.”

Friday’s deadline to close the deal was ordered by the Delaware Chancery Court in early October. It is the latest step in a battle that began in April with Musk signing a deal to acquire Twitter, then tried to back out of it, leading Twitter to sue the Tesla CEO to force him to go through with the acquisition.

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