“The reason I acquired Twitter is because it is important to the future of civilization to have a common digital town square, where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner, without resorting to violence,” Musk, better known for his cryptic one-liners, said in an unusually long statement on Thursday.
The message came hours after he walked into the Twitter HQ carrying a kitchen sink and tweeting “let that sink in.” He also changed his Twitter profile to refer to himself as “Chief Twit,” amid expectation that he will fire more than half of the social media platform’s 7500 staff, including two Indian principals at the top — CEO Parag Agrawal and its legal head Vijaya Gadde.
The statement, the tweets, and his trolling physical entry into the Twitter den made it certain that he will complete his $ 44 billion acquisition of Twitter before a court-mandated Friday deadline despite misgivings — including his own — that he is paying higher price than it merited.
“There is currently great danger that social media will splinter into far right wing and far left wing echo chambers that generate more hate and divide our society,” Musk said in a statement he addressed to Twitter advertisers who fear the platform will become a free-for-all, adding that he bought the company not to make more money but “to try to help humanity, whom I love.”
He said Twitter should be a platform that both follows the laws of the land and is “warm and welcoming to all, where you can choose your desired experience according to your preferences.”
The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that many advertisers are concerned about Musk’s plans to scale back content moderation and potential conflict of interest with auto advertising, since he is also the CEO of Tesla.
But Musk assured advertisers that he would offer a fair platform, saying “advertising, when done right, can delight, entertain and inform you; it can show you a service or product or medical treatment that you never knew existed, but is right for you.”
“For this to be true, it is essential to show Twitter users advertising that is as relevant as possible to their needs. Low relevancy ads are spam, but highly relevant ads are actually content!” he explained, adding, “Fundamentally, Twitter aspires to be the most respected advertising platform in the world that strengthens your brand and grows your enterprise.”
As Musk confirmed his takeover, right-wing Twitter users, who have long smarted at what they perceive as the platform’s left-wing bias rejoiced. “Hey all you liberal snowflakes at Twitter HQ…YOU’RE FIRED,” tweeted one user, channeling former President Donald Trump’s signature line from his TV show The Apprentice.
Agrawal and Gadde were seen as being instrumental in turfing Trump out of Twitter, something Musk has indicated he will reverse.
“A new day is dawning at Twitter. The new owner @elonmusk is in the building! What should he do about the two notorious Indians, Parag Agarwal and Vijaya Gadde? My advice: Throw the censors out, keep the chicken tikka masala!” tweeted Dinesh D’Souza, an ultra-conservative Trump supporter.