Elon Musk buys Twitter and fires its CEOs

(CNN) — Elon Musk has completed his $44 billion acquisition of Twitter, the company confirmed in a securities filing on Friday, putting the world’s richest man at the helm of one of the world’s most influential social media platforms.

The company said the deal “became effective” on Thursday, as part of a filing announcing its intention to delist from the New York Stock Exchange.

After completing the purchase, Elon Musk fired CEO Parag Agrawal and two other executives, according to two people familiar with the decision.

The closing of the deal removes a cloud of uncertainty that has hung over Twitter’s business, employees and shareholders for most of the year. After initially agreeing to buy the company in April, Musk spent months trying to get out of the deal, first citing concerns about the number of bots on the platform and then allegations made by a company whistleblower.

But Musk’s takeover and the immediate firings of some of its top executives now raise a host of new questions for the future of the platform and the many parts of society it affects.

Musk said he plans to rethink Twitter’s content moderation policy to introduce a more maximalist approach to “freedom of speech.” The billionaire also said he disagreed with Twitter’s practice of permanently banning those who repeatedly violate its rules, raising the possibility that a number of previously banned users could reappear on the platform.

Many may immediately follow that Musk could allow former President Donald Trump to return to the platform, as he previously said he would.

By taking those steps, Musk could single-handedly change the political and media ecosystem, reshape public discourse on the Internet, and disrupt a nascent sphere of conservative-leaning social media that emerged largely in response to complaints about bans and restrictions on Twitter and other services.

See what Elon Musk brought to the Twitter offices 0:47

Musk, a prominent and controversial Twitter user, got involved in the company earlier this year when he amassed a more than 9% stake in its stock. After announcing that he had become Twitter’s largest shareholder, Musk accepted and later withdrew from the offer to join the company’s board of directors.

Musk then immediately offered to buy Twitter at a significant premium, threatened a hostile takeover and signed a “favorable” deal to buy the company that included a due diligence waiver. Within weeks, Musk began expressing concern about the prevalence of fake and spam accounts on Twitter and eventually tried to back out of the deal. However, Twitter sued him to honor the acquisition agreement, and as the contentious legal battle neared trial, Musk said he would still proceed with the deal under the original terms.

Earlier this week, Musk visited Twitter’s headquarters in San Francisco to meet with employees. He also posted an open letter to advertisers on Twitter, saying he didn’t want the platform to become “a free hell where you can say anything without consequence.”

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