Elon Musk has “added [Twitter] to his business empire after months of legal skirmishes,” writes The Verge’s Elizabeth Lopatto, citing reports from CNBC, The Washington Post and Insider. From the report: Musk’s first move on Thursday was to oust Parag Agrawal, who was Twitter’s last CEO as a public company. Chief financial officer Ned Segal and Vijaya Gadde, the company’s policy chief whom Musk had publicly criticized have also reportedly left the building. Sean Edgett, the general counsel, is also gone, The New York Times reports, adding that at least one of these executives was walked out by security. Chief customer officer Sarah Personette was also fired, Insider reports. The execs received handsome payouts for their trouble, Insider reports: Agrawal got $38.7 million, Segal got $25.4 million, Gadde got $12.5 million, and Personette, who tweeted yesterday about how excited she was for Musk’s takeover, got $11.2 million
Questions still remain about what Musk plans to do with Twitter now that he owns it, though he’s made a number of public comments. The Washington Post reported that Musk planned to cull 75 percent of Twitter’s employees, citing estimates given to prospective Twitter investors. Musk told Twitter staffers that the 75 percent figure was inaccurate, Bloomberg reported. In Musk’s text messages, provided during discovery to Twitter’s lawyers, he and entrepreneur Jason Calacanis, a friend of his, discussed cutting staff by requiring a return to office. “Day zero,” Calacanis texted Musk. “Sharpen your blades boys.” Requiring Twitter employees to return to offices would mean 20 percent of the staff would leave voluntarily, Calacanis wrote. Also, Calacanis told Musk, “Twitter CEO is my dream job.”
Twitter also faces challenges to its free speech stance in court, as the Supreme Court agreed to take up two cases that will determine its liability for illegal content. Musk, who is also CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, has suggested he’ll change the way Twitter’s moderation works, potentially relaxing the kinds of policies that saw former President Donald Trump permanently banned from the platform. Although Musk has said that his Twitter acquisition is “not a way to make money,” he’s reportedly raised ideas for cost cutting and increasing revenue. Governments and corporations could be charged a “slight cost” to use Twitter, and there could be job cuts on the table to improve the company’s bottom line. Some of Twitter’s current employees have criticized Musk’s plans for the platform as “incoherent” and lacking in detail. More broadly, Musk has talked about using Twitter to create “X, the everything app.” This is a reference to China’s WeChat app, which started life as a messaging platform, but has since grown to encompass multiple businesses, from shopping to payments to gaming. “You basically live on WeChat in China,” Musk told Twitter employees in June. “If we can recreate that with Twitter, we’ll be a great success.”
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