Elon Musk finalized his acquisition of Twitter this week, despite months of legal hurdles and other controversies. Now that he’s the CEO, Musk is bringing a lot of change to the company. Several top executives are out, including Parag Agrawal.
It was inevitable that Sean Agrawal would be let go soon, given his well-documented clashes and a failed virtual meeting with Elon Musk. It was also no surprise that Vijaya Gadde who has been achieved the role of Head of Legal at the company, was among those who were let go from the company last month.
Raising the funds for a possible acquisition of Twitter has been a long and grueling process for Elon Musk. The Tesla and SpaceX CEO first announced his intent to acquire Twitter in early April, when he bought 9% of the company for $3 billion. But he didn’t stop there, following with an announcement that he intended to buy it for $44 billion just ten days later. At this point, Twitter agreed, but Musk soon got cold feet and took steps to get out of the deal. This led to an embarrassing set of discoveries during pre-trial discovery and a date rapidly approaching for his depositions in Delaware Court of Chancery. Suddenly, though, Musk changed his mind again and said he would follow through after all on his original purchase agreement with Twitter.
It’s not clear why Elon Musk backtracked, agreeing to buy Twitter after all. Musk agreed to buy Twitter on the same day that his trial, which was originally set to begin on October 17, was moved to Nov 13. Twitter sued Musk over the summer because of the change of plans and he countersued them in response by making unfounded claims about how many automated accounts there are on the platform — a number that is very important for advertisers and brands who want human eyeballs on their ads.
In April, Musk and Twitter tweeted back and forth about making a deal. Musk explored the idea of knocking down the trial date, but his offer was flatly rejected by the judge. However, in October when he tweeted again that he would try to buy the company in order to kill the upcoming trial date, it was accepted with one condition: He would have to close the deal by Friday. If he had missed this deadline, we would still be looking at a November trial date between Musk and Twitter.
On the day Elon Musk owns Twitter, it’s none-the-less uncertain what his plans for the platform are going to be. Here, the often contradictory and muddled billionaire has in the past promised to restore President Trump’s account, rid the platform of all bots, which personally bother him as one of the most followed users on it (good luck), and touted Twitter’s potential as a place for neutral ground and a go-to for countering complaints about traditional media.
Twitter, an incredibly prominent platform, is really struggling and needs help. After bottoming out for a long time and finally beginning to introduce some improvements, he’s now looking at restructuring the company in drastic ways. It’s not clear if Musk will continue this strategy or claim to be reinventing Twitter while gutting its workforce.
During a recent interview, Musk talked about turning back Twitter’s track record of moderation and platform safety. He seemed to suddenly realize how this might make advertisers nervous, publishing a letter to reassure them on Thursday. “Twitter obviously cannot become a free-for-all hellscape!” he wrote, contradicting his own promises.
We don’t know what the future holds for one of the world’s biggest social networks, but we do know that Musk has accomplished something that was once unthinkable: taking control of Twitter for $44 billion. But the conclusion to this monthslong saga is just the beginning of a new chapter in uncertainty at Twitter, raising a million questions about what the platform is actually worth, what it’s there for, and what Musk plans to do with it.