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Having successfully acquired Twitter after months of legal quagmires, Elon Musk now plans to reverse lifetime bans for Twitter users who were kicked off the platform for various speech infractions.
The tech titan doesn’t believe in barring an individual from the social-media site for life, a source told Bloomberg. Twitter has permanently removed a number of political personalities, many of whom are considered right-wing internet provocateurs or conspiracy theorists. They include Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe, Steve Bannon, Alex Jones, Milo Yiannopoulos, and most significantly, former president Trump.
The person with knowledge of Musk’s account reinstatement intentions said it’s unclear whether Trump will be allowed to return to Twitter.
Musk has also decided to clean house in Twitter’s C-suite, firing major executives as the takeover deal was finalized. He himself intends to replace CEO Parag Agrawal on possibly a temporary basis before he passes on the position in the long run, the source told Bloomberg. Members of leadership that Musk axed include Vijaya Gadde, the head of legal, policy and trust who made the decision to ban Trump, chief financial officer Ned Segal, and Sean Edgett, general counsel at Twitter.
As of earlier this week, Twitter employees protested Musk’s plans to dismiss or replace as much as 75 percent of the staff, which he has said is too large and disproportionately skews left-wing politically. He said he could potentially reduce the workforce from 7,500 to just 2,000, the Washington Post reported last week. Angry Twitter workers circulated an open letter, obtained by Time, demanding that Musk not get rid of or discriminate against any of them on the basis of political views.
“We demand to be treated with dignity, and to not be treated as mere pawns in a game played by billionaires,” it read. “A threat of this magnitude is reckless, undermines our users’ and customers’ trust in our platform, and is a transparent act of worker intimidation.”
Engineers from Tesla, which Musk also leads, reportedly are meeting with product leaders at Twitter to begin adapting the service to fit his vision for the company, people familiar with the discussions told Bloomberg. At Twitter headquarters, product leaders reportedly shared the company’s code with Tesla engineers so work on the product could begin, the person said.
Musk’s purchase of Twitter has been a grueling process that began six months ago in January, when he took a major stake in the company after expressing that the company’s management and operations, especially those related to content moderation policies, needed to change. Musk is believed to have been spurred to action after Twitter suspended popular conservative satire site, The Babylon Bee, for publishing a joke that referred to transgender U.S. assistant secretary for health Rachel Levine as a man.
There were many detours and hiccups in Musk’s Twitter takeover, which was completed Thursday. He tweeted a video of himself walking into the headquarters carrying a sink with the caption, “Let that sink in.”
However, in July, Musk announced he was terminating his bid to purchase Twitter for $44 billion, claiming that the company violated their April 25 merger agreement and misled him when he expressed interest in buying it. Twitter then sued Musk for breach on contract, writing in a complaint that he is refusing to “honor his obligations to Twitter and its stockholders because the deal he signed no longer serves his personal interests.” The dispute seemed to have been resolved in September, when Twitter shareholders voted in favor of moving forward with Musk’s $44 billion acquisition.