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Social media. Elon Musk has completed the acquisition of Twitter

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Elon Musk has completed the acquisition of Twitter

Elon Musk has taken over the Twitter short message service. photo:

© Adrien Fillon/ZUMA Press Wire/dpa

After months of wrangling, tech billionaire Elon Musk bought Twitter. Critics fear that the online web could now become an even bigger hotbed of hatred, hate speech and misinformation.

Now it is official. Elon Musk has completed the purchase of the short messaging service Twitter for about $44 billion (€44.2 billion). Twitter notified the US Securities and Exchange Commission of the delisting yesterday, thereby confirming the completion of the acquisition.

This ends a month-long back-and-forth, which during this time was leading to an explosive court case. Now Musk is taking private ownership of the online network. The New York Stock Exchange has already withdrawn the stock from trading. The tech billionaire is also looking to build a new management team.

Musk wants to put himself in top positions

According to consistent US media reports, Musk fired senior executives on Thursday, including the company’s former CEO Parag Agrawal and CFO Ned Segal. It is believed that Musk wanted to personally take over the top position from the beginning. It was said that the job could be given to someone else only in time. Musk tweeted that night, referencing the company’s logo: “The bird is set free.” He already heads the electric car manufacturer Tesla and the rocket company SpaceX.

According to the star entrepreneur, buying Twitter is about strengthening freedom of speech. However, critics fear that the tone of the internet platform will be violent and worry that the change in ownership will lead to more hate messages, hate speech and misinformation. The federal government announced yesterday that it wants to monitor developments on Twitter “very closely” after Musk takes over. EU Industry Commissioner Thierry Breton warned Musk on Twitter against turning the text messaging service into an unregulated platform. “In Europe, the bird will fly according to our EU rules.”

Too lax content moderation could also scare off advertising partners, putting a major source of Twitter’s revenue at risk. Against this background, Musk wrote an open letter to the company’s advertising clients on Thursday. Twitter should not become a “place of horror”, where everything can be said without consequences, he explained. The platform should be “warm and inviting for everyone”. Musk went on to say that he didn’t buy Twitter because it would be easy or to make more money. “I did it to help the humanity I love.”

For months, he wanted to undo the costly embezzlement

Musk actually agreed to take over Twitter in April. In July, however, it voided the agreement due to alleged misrepresentations about fake accounts. Twitter subsequently sued to comply with the purchase agreement. At the beginning of October, the head of the American electric car manufacturer Tesla surprisingly updated his purchase offer, which led to the suspension of the legal process. However, the judge in charge had given the parties of the dispute a deadline to conclude the deal until October 28.

Musk had been trying to cancel the expensive purchase for months. However, after it became increasingly clear that his chances in the court process were quite weak, he gave up his resistance. As a result, the troubled company is now in the hands of everyone who has publicly criticized the company’s management over the past few months and cast doubt on the company’s value. Over the past few days, it’s become clear that Musk has come to terms with his new role as the owner of Twitter.

Donald Trump returns to Twitter.

The fact that the world’s richest man, according to billionaire rankings such as the Forbes list, is now pulling the strings of an online network is also politically explosive. Musk has already spoken in favor of restoring former US President Donald Trump to the platform. In May, Musk called Trump’s ban from Twitter out of sympathy for supporters who stormed the Capitol building in Washington on January 6, 2021 “morally wrong and just plain stupid.” The return to the influential network will take place just in time for Trump to participate in the 2024 presidential election.

Trump’s response did not come long after the end of Musk’s tenure. “I’m so glad Twitter is now in good hands and no longer run by leftist crackpots and lunatics who really hate our country,” he wrote yesterday on Truth Social, the social media platform he co-founded. Twitter now has to work hard to get rid of all the bots and fake accounts that have plagued the online service. “It will be much smaller, but better,” said the former US president.

More recently, Musk has also been criticized for two foreign policy advances. He suggested making Taiwan a “special administrative region” under Chinese rule. The Taipei government rejected this as “unacceptable”. Musk also called on Ukraine to relinquish Russia’s illegally annexed Crimea and agree to a UN-supervised referendum in its Russian-held territories.

Red numbers again.

Meanwhile, Twitter struggled commercially for a long time. Considering inflation and economic risks, advertisers are holding back the online advertising market, which is the most important source of income for the Internet platform. Twitter has not yet presented the numbers of the last third quarter. However, sales fell slightly in the previous quarter and it suffered a loss of $270 million. After all, the number of daily active users increased from 229 million to 237.8 million.

dpa:

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