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Sunday 5 February 2023 Dublin: 2°C
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# Elon musk
Dismissing his whole board and paying for blue ticks: Elon Musk's 'diabolical' start at Twitter
The billionaire’s bio now reads: ‘Twitter Complaint Hotline Operator.’

ELON MUSK HAS hit the ground sprinting after his Twitter takeover, seeking major changes to the platform only days after finalising his controversial $44 billion purchase.

Documents filed on Monday with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) showed that Musk has become Twitter’s sole director after finalising the deal last week and dissolving its corporate board.

The documents state that the “consummation of the Merger” occurred on 27 October, at which point Musk “became the sole director of Twitter.”

The entire board, including CEO Parag Agrawal, were let go.

Musk has tweeted a rake of cryptic replies to other users commenting on his takeover of the platform. To one journalist tweeting about his dissolution of the Twitter board, he replied: “This is just temporary.”

When he made his initial buyout offer in April, Musk – also the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX – stated that he intended to remove Twitter from the public market, after which fewer public disclosures would be required.

When the unpredictable billionaire tried to walk away from the deal, Twitter sued Musk in a Delaware court.

But with an October trial date looming, Musk revived the deal in early October, ultimately sealing the takeover at $54.20 per share last week.

After changing his Twitter bio to “Chief Twit,” Musk reportedly worked over the weekend with software engineers from Tesla to look under the hood of the one-to-many messaging platform, and on planning massive layoffs.

His bio now reads: “Twitter Complaint Hotline Operator.”

The team has reportedly been attempting to monetise Twitter’s identity verification feature, which gives certain users a prized blue check mark next to their profile.

One option, The Verge reports, would be to require verified users to sign up for the platform’s paid subscription service, Twitter Blue, which currently costs just under five dollars a month.

That price would increase to around $20 a month, and if unpaid, verified users would lose their blue check mark.

“The whole verification process is being revamped right now,” Musk tweeted on Sunday.

The new boss has also asked teams to relaunch Vine by the end of the year, newsite Axios reported.

Twitter bought the ultra-short video app in 2012, long before TikTok became the format’s dominant player, but shuttered it four years later.

The Washington Post has reported that the multi-billionaire plans to fire some 75% of his new company’s 7,500 employees.

Musk’s previous comments condemning Twitter’s content moderation policies as heavy-handed – as well as his frequent posts of boundary-testing memes – has given pause to some advertisers, the company’s main source of revenue.

He tried to calm the nerves by reassuring that the site would not become a “free-for-all hellscape,” and announced the formation of a content moderation council.

On Monday, he traveled to New York, where his team met with several advertisers to try to reassure them, according to The Information.

The new Musk-led entity formed under the merger agreement has also offered to buy back all of Twitter’s outstanding bonds, according to the SEC filing.

Musk, the wealthiest person in the world, financed the massive deal through a mixture of his own funds, money from other investment groups and loans from banks which will have to be reimbursed.

According to another Twitter document filed with the SEC, Saudi Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal has become the site’s second largest shareholder.

The businessman, who had initially rejected Musk’s offer as too low compared to Twitter’s “intrinsic value,” eventually contributed the nearly 35 million shares he already owned.

“Dear friend ‘Chief Twit’ @elonmusk,” wrote Al-Waleed on Twitter last Friday with a statement announcing the rollover of his shares.

“Together all the way,” he added, with an emoji of two hands shaking.

© AFP 2022

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