Elon Musk says Twitter will form ‘content moderation council’

Elon Musk's comments came a day after he completed the $44 billion acquisition of the social media giant.

October 29, 2022 09:52 am | Updated October 30, 2022 07:28 am IST - New York

Elon Musk’s photo is seen through a Twitter logo in this illustration taken on October 28, 2022.`

Elon Musk’s photo is seen through a Twitter logo in this illustration taken on October 28, 2022.` | Photo Credit: Reuters

Twitter’s new owner billionaire Elon Musk has said the social media company will form a “content moderation council” and any major content decisions or account reinstatements will happen after such a body has convened.

Mr. Musk's comments came a day after he completed the $44 billion acquisition of the social media giant.

“Twitter will be forming a content moderation council with widely diverse viewpoints. No major content decisions or account reinstatements will happen before that council convenes,” Mr. Musk, 51, tweeted on Friday.

“To be super clear, we have not yet made any changes to Twitter’s content moderation policies,” he added.

Mr. Musk has not yet offered details about how his content moderation council will work.

Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal, legal executive Vijaya Gadde, Chief Financial Officer Ned Segal and General Counsel Sean Edgett were ousted as Mr. Musk’s acquisition was completed.

Within hours of taking over the reins at Twitter, the Tesla CEO posted a series of tweets. “The bird is freed”, “Spoiler Alert. Let the good times roll”, “Living the Dream. Comedy is now legal on Twitter”.

After initially agreeing to buy the company in April, Mr. Musk spent months attempting to get out of the deal, first citing concerns about the number of bots on the platform and later allegations raised by a company whistleblower.

Mr. Agrawal, 38, was appointed Twitter CEO in November last year after the social media site’s co-founder Jack Dorsey had stepped down.

As the Twitter account of former U.S. President Donald Trump was permanently suspended in January last year, Hyderabad-born Gadde was at the forefront of this dramatic decision undertaken within days of the attempted insurrection by pro-Trump supporters at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.

Twitter co-founder Biz Stone thanked Mr. Agrawal, Mr. Segal and Mr. Gadde for their "massive contribution" to the business.

"Thank you to @paraga, @vijaya, and @nedsegal for the collective contribution to Twitter. Massive talents, all, and beautiful humans each!" Mr. Stone tweeted.

Mr. Musk arrived at the company’s headquarters in San Francisco on Wednesday and had been meeting with engineers and advertising executives.

Mr. Musk also updated his Twitter description to “Chief Twit.”

Mr. Musk has promised to transform Twitter by loosening the service’s content moderation rules, making its algorithm more transparent and nurturing subscription businesses, as well as laying off employees.

In April, Twitter accepted Mr. Musk’s proposal to buy the social media service and take it private.

However, Mr. Musk soon began sowing doubt about his intentions to follow through with the agreement, alleging that the company failed to adequately disclose the number of spam and fake accounts on the service.

When Mr. Musk said he was terminating the deal, Twitter sued the billionaire, alleging he “refuses to honour his obligations to Twitter and its stockholders because the deal he signed no longer serves his personal interests.”

Earlier in October, Mr. Musk said he wanted to pursue his acquisition of Twitter at the original price of $54.20 a share if the social messaging service dropped its litigation.

Twitter’s lawyers said that the Tesla CEO’s “proposal is an invitation to further mischief and delay.”

A Delaware Chancery Court judge eventually ruled that Mr. Musk had until October 28 to cement the Twitter deal or head to trial.

On Thursday, Mr. Musk wrote a message to reassure advertisers that social messaging services wouldn’t devolve into “a free-for-all hellscape, where anything can be said with no consequences!”

“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,” Mr. Musk said in the message.

“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.”

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