Categories: World

Elon Musk inundated with demands from banned Twitter account holders

“First I hear,” Musk responded in a tweet Friday.

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Musk has not given any details about how he will fight online censorship while protecting advertisers, nor any details about who will run the company. But he said he will form a “content moderation board with widely divergent views” and that no major decisions on the matter will be made before it meets.

He has said he plans to cut jobs, leaving Twitter’s 7,500 employees worried about their future. He also said on Thursday that he didn’t buy Twitter to make more money, but “to try to help humanity, whom I love”.

Musk tried to allay Twitter employees’ fears of major layoffs and assured advertisers that his past criticisms of Twitter’s content moderation rules wouldn’t hurt Twitter’s appeal.

On Friday, automaker GM said it has temporarily paused its ads on Twitter and is working to “understand the direction of the platform under their new ownership.”

Less than 10 percent of the 266 Twitter employees who took a poll on messaging app Blind expected to be in their jobs three months from now. Blind allows employees to anonymously voice their complaints after signing up with corporate emails.

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Musk has fired Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal, Chief Financial Officer Ned Segal and chief of legal and policy affairs Vijaya Gadde, according to people familiar with the matter. He had accused them of misleading him and Twitter investors about the number of fake accounts on the platform.

Agrawal and Segal were at Twitter’s headquarters in San Francisco when the deal was made and were escorted out, the sources added.

Musk, who also runs rocket company SpaceX, plans to become Twitter’s interim CEO, according to a person familiar with the matter and following an earlier Reuters report. Musk also plans to remove permanent user bans, Bloomberg said, citing a person familiar with the matter.

Twitter, Musk and executives did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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Before closing the deal, Musk walked into Twitter headquarters on Wednesday with a big grin and a china sink, then tweeted “let that sink in.” He changed his Twitter profile description to “Chief Twit”.

European regulators also echoed previous warnings that Twitter, led by Musk, must still comply with the region’s Digital Services Act, which imposes hefty fines on companies if they fail to control illegal content.

“In Europe, the bird will fly according to our EU rules,” EU industry chief Thierry Breton tweeted Friday morning.

European Parliament legislator and civil rights advocate Patrick Breyer suggested that people look for alternatives where privacy is a priority.

“Twitter already knows our personalities dangerously well because of the ubiquitous monitoring of every click. Now this knowledge falls into the hands of Musk.”

Musk has indicated that he sees Twitter as a foundation for creating a “super app” that offers everything from money transfers to shopping and ride-hailing.

But Twitter struggles to engage the most active users, who are essential to the business. These “heavy tweeters” account for less than 10 percent of monthly users, but generate 90 percent of all tweets and half of global revenue.

Musk will face a challenge to monetize “as the controversial opinions he seems to want to give more free rein to are often unpalatable to advertisers,” said Susannah Streeter, analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.

As news of the deal spread, some Twitter users were quick to indicate that they were willing to walk away.

“I’ll be happy to leave in a heartbeat if Musk acts, well, as we all expect him to,” said a user with the @mustlovedogsxo account.

Reuters

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