Musk doesn’t seek a ‘free-for-all hellscape’ for Twitter



Elon Musk tried to assuage leery Twitter advertisers Thursday, a day earlier than a deadline to shut out on his $44 billion acquisition of the social media platform, saying that he’s shopping for the platform to “assist humanity” and doesn’t need it to change into a “free-for-all hellscape.”


The message displays considerations amongst advertisers — Twitter’s chief income — that Musk’s plans to advertise free speech by reducing again on moderating content material will open the floodgates to extra on-line toxicity and drive away customers.


“The purpose I acquired Twitter is as a result of it is very important the way forward for civilization to have a frequent digital city sq., the place a big selection of beliefs could be debated in a wholesome method, with out resorting to violence,” Musk wrote in an uncharacteristically lengthy message for the Tesla CEO, who sometimes tasks his ideas in one-line tweets.


He continued: “There is presently nice hazard that social media will splinter into far proper wing and much left wing echo chambers that generate extra hate and divide our society.”


Musk has beforehand expressed distaste for promoting and Twitter’s dependence on it, suggesting extra emphasis on different enterprise fashions akin to paid subscriptions that will not enable large companies to “dictate coverage” on how social media operates. But on Thursday, he assured advertisers he needs Twitter to be “probably the most revered promoting platform on the planet.”


The be aware is a shift from Musk’s place that Twitter is unfairly infringing on free speech rights by blocking misinformation or graphic content material, mentioned Pinar Yildirim, affiliate professor of selling on the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.


But it is also a realization that having no content material moderation is dangerous for enterprise, placing Twitter prone to shedding advertisers and subscribers, she mentioned. “You don’t want a place the place shoppers simply merely are bombarded with issues they don’t need to hear about, and the platform takes no accountability,” Yildirim mentioned.


Musk mentioned Twitter needs to be “heat and welcoming to all” and allow customers to decide on the expertise they need to have.


“I did not do it to generate income,” he mentioned of the pending acquisition. “I did it to attempt to assist humanity, whom I really like. And I achieve this with humility, recognizing that failure in pursuing this purpose, regardless of our greatest efforts, is a very actual risk.”


Friday’s deadline to shut the deal was ordered by the Delaware Chancery Court in early October. It is the newest step in an epic battle throughout which Musk signed an April deal to amass Twitter, then tried to again out of it, main Twitter to sue the Tesla CEO to pressure him to conclude the acquisition. If the 2 sides do not meet the Friday deadline, the following step may very well be a November trial that would result in a choose forcing Musk to finish the deal.


But Musk has been signaling that the deal goes by. He strolled into the corporate’s San Francisco headquarters Wednesday carrying a porcelain sink, modified his Twitter profile to “Chief Twit,” and tweeted “Entering Twitter HQ – let that sink in!”


And in a single day the New York Stock Exchange notified traders that it’ll droop buying and selling in shares of Twitter earlier than the opening bell Friday in anticipation of the corporate going non-public underneath Musk.


Musk is predicted to talk to staff instantly Friday if the deal is finalized, in response to an inside memo cited in a number of media retailers. Despite inside confusion and low morale tied to fears of layoffs or a dismantling of the corporate’s tradition and operations, Twitter leaders this week have no less than outwardly welcomed Musk’s arrival and messaging.


Top gross sales govt Sarah Personette, the corporate’s chief buyer officer, mentioned she had a “nice dialogue” with Musk on Wednesday and appeared to endorse his Thursday message to advertisers.


“Our continued dedication to model security for advertisers stays unchanged,” Personette tweeted Thursday. “Looking ahead to the long run!”


Musk’s obvious enthusiasm about visiting Twitter headquarters this week stood in sharp distinction to considered one of his earlier strategies that the constructing needs to be was a “homeless shelter” as a result of, he mentioned, so few staff really labored there.


The Washington Post reported final week that Musk instructed potential traders that he plans to chop three quarters of Twitter’s 7,500 staff when he turns into proprietor of the corporate. The newspaper cited paperwork and unnamed sources conversant in the deliberation.


One of Musk’s greatest obstacles to closing the deal was maintaining in place the financing pledged roughly six months in the past.


A gaggle of banks, together with Morgan Stanley and Bank of America, signed on earlier this 12 months to mortgage $12.5 billion of the cash Musk wanted to purchase Twitter and take it non-public. Solid contracts with Musk sure the banks to the financing, though adjustments within the financial system and debt markets since April have possible made the phrases much less engaging. Musk even mentioned his funding group could be shopping for Twitter for greater than it is price.


Less clear is what’s taking place with the billions of {dollars} pledged to Musk by traders who would get possession stakes in Twitter. Musk’s unique slate of fairness companions included an array of companions starting from the billionaire’s tech world buddies with like-minded concepts about Twitter’s future, akin to Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison, to funds managed by Middle Eastern royalty.


The extra fairness traders kick in for the deal, the much less Musk has to pay on his personal. Most of his wealth is tied up in shares of Tesla, the electrical automotive firm that he runs. Since April, he has offered greater than $15 billion price of Tesla stock, presumably to pay his share. More gross sales may very well be coming.


Musk, 51, has shared few concrete particulars about his plans for the social media platform. While he is touted free speech and derided spam bots since agreeing to purchase the corporate in April, what he really needs to do about both stays a thriller.


Technology analysts have speculated that Musk needs to make use of Twitter to assist create an “the whole lot app” much like China’s WeChat service, which permits customers to do video chats, message, stream video, scan bar codes and make funds. Musk instructed advertisers Thursday that a lot of the speculation about his plans is flawed.


Musk’s flirtation with shopping for Twitter appeared to start in late March. That’s when Twitter mentioned he contacted members of its board — together with co-founder Jack Dorsey — and instructed them he was shopping for up shares and was keen on both becoming a member of the board, taking Twitter non-public or beginning a competitor.


Then, on April 4, he revealed in a regulatory submitting that he had change into the corporate’s largest shareholder after buying a 9% stake price about $3 billion.


At first, Twitter supplied Musk a seat on its board. But six days later, CEO Parag Agrawal tweeted that Musk wouldn’t be becoming a member of the board in any case. His bid to purchase the corporate shortly adopted.


In July, Musk abruptly reversed course, asserting that he was abandoning his bid to purchase Twitter. His acknowledged purpose: Twitter hadn’t been simple about its drawback with pretend accounts he dubbed “spam bots.” Twitter sued, and two weeks earlier than a 5-day trial was scheduled to start, Musk modified his thoughts once more, saying that he wished to finish the deal in any case.


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