Elon Musk not seeking to turn Twitter into 'free-for-all hellscape'

World's richest man lays out reasons for acquiring social media platform in public message to advertisers

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Billionaire Elon Musk on Thursday said he was buying Twitter to “try to help humanity”, in an apparent effort to sooth advertisers' concerns that the Tesla chief executive's plans to promote free speech by cutting back on content moderation could result in a more toxic environment.

Addressing those advertisers in a lengthy message, Mr Musk said much of the speculation over why he bought Twitter and his views on advertising “are wrong”.

“The reason I acquired Twitter is because it is important to the future of civilisation to have a common digital town square, where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner without resorting to violence,” he said.

Mr Musk said increasing polarisation stoked by traditional media had damaged the “opportunity for dialogue” on the platform.

“That is why I bought Twitter. I didn't do it because it would be easy. I didn't do it to make more money. I did it to try to help humanity, whom I love.”

He said the platform “must be warm and welcoming to all” and that users should be able to choose their desired experiences.

But Twitter cannot become a “free-for-all hellscape, where anything can be said with no consequences”, he said.

The tweet came a day before Mr Musk closed his $44 billion acquisition of Twitter, bringing to an end a months-long process that at one point appeared to be headed for court.

Mr Musk's first move after acquiring the company was to fire several senior personnel, according to media reports.

Chief executive Parag Agrawal and finance chief Ned Segal left the company’s San Francisco headquarters and will not be returning, CNBC reported, citing sources.

Vijaya Gadde, the head of legal policy, trust and safety, was reportedly fired, the Washington Post reported.

He was pictured on the social media platform talking to staff at the company's headquarters.

The buyout process has had its more light-hearted moments.

Mr Musk on Wednesday walked into Twitter headquarters in San Francisco on Wednesday, carrying a sink.

“Entering Twitter HQ — let that sink in!” he tweeted.

The world's richest person also changed his Twitter profile to include the title “Chief Twit”.

Updated: October 28, 2022, 12:01 PM
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