Elon Musk has fired Twitter’s board of directors, giving himself unfettered control over the social media giant, according to a company filing.
Musk became “sole director” of Twitter after finalising his $44bn takeover of the company last week, according to documents filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Monday.
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The Tesla CEO tweeted later on Monday that the arrangement would be “temporary” without elaborating.
Musk, who also runs spaceflight company SpaceX and neurotechnology startup Neuralink, began his tenure at the company on Thursday by firing top leadership, including Chief Executive Parag Agrawal and Chief Financial Officer Ned Segal.
Musk has also offered to buy back all of Twitter’s outstanding bonds, according to the SEC filing.
Musk, the world’s richest person, completed the purchase of the company through a combination of his own wealth, investment funds and bank loans.
A separate SEC filing showed that Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal had become Twitter’s second-largest shareholder.
Chris Murphy, a Democratic senator for Connecticut, said he would ask the Committee on Foreign Investment to examine the national security implications of Saudi Arabia’s investment in the platform.
We should be concerned that the Saudis, who have a clear interest in repressing political speech and impacting U.S. politics, are now the second-largest owner of a major social media platform.
There is a clear national security issue at stake and CFIUS should do a review.
— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) October 31, 2022
Musk’s takeover of the influential social media network has ignited an intense debate about the balance between free speech and protecting vulnerable groups from online harm.
Musk, a self-described “free-speech absolutist”, has criticised Twitter’s moderation policies and accused the company of being biased towards left-wing views.
Although Musk has yet to detail his exact plans for the platform, he is widely expected to ease moderation rules and cut a significant portion of the company’s workforce.
While acknowledging Twitter cannot be a “free-for-all hellscape”, Musk has stressed the need for a “common digital town square” where a wide range of views can be expressed and debated.
Musk, who has conveyed discomfort with Twitter’s reliance on adverstising, has also signalled an interest in requiring users to pay for the blue check mark used to verify prominent accounts and offering different versions of the platform based on a film-like rating system.