Speed Reads

Done Deal

Elon Musk takes control of Twitter, reportedly ousts top executives

The Elon Musk era at Twitter began Thursday night as the world's wealthiest man took control of one of the world's most influential social media networks, then immediately fired its top executives, multiple sources told practically every major news organization. Among the executives reportedly shown the door were CEO Parag Agrawal, chief financial officer Ned Segal, general counsel Sean Edgett, and Vijaya Gadde, the head of legal policy, trust, and safety. 

The people who spoke with The Associated Press wouldn't say Thursday night if all the paperwork had been signed or if the deal had officially closed, but they said Musk is now in charge. Twitter had no immediate comment and it's not clear who Musk will bring in for his leadership team. Now that Twitter is private, he won't be beholden to shareholders.

Musk, who made a hostile takeover offer in the spring before spending months trying to back out of his $44 billion deal, signaled his pending ownership on Wednesday when he changed his Twitter profile to "Chief Twit" then visited Twitter headquarters in San Francisco with an elaborate sight gag/dad joke.

Musk is a self-described "free speech absolutist," and he has criticized Twitter for its content moderation and for permanently banning former President Donald Trump and other public officials. He has also been dismissive of companies that advertise on Twitter, the company's main source of revenue. Musk appeared to try and mend those bridges on Thursday, tweeting out a statement saying he wants Twitter "to be the most respected advertising platform in the world." 

"Twitter obviously cannot become a free-for-all hellscape, where anything can be said with no consequences," Musk tweeted.

At the same time, The Washington Post reported last week, Musk had told investors he plans to lean into new ways of generating revenue, like paid subscriptions for some content, and fire nearly 75 percent of the company's 7,500 employees. "Inside Twitter, Musk's arrival has been met with resentment and dismay — though Musk's visit on Wednesday left some hopeful," the Post reported Thursday. "Those hopes were quickly dashed with the firings of longtime top executives, who had commanded the trust of existing staff."

Musk's acquisition of Twitter raises a lot of big questions with real-world implications but it also ends months of corporate drama and intrigue — most of which the Post's Rachel Lerman recaps in the video below.