With billionaire Elon Musk closing the deal to buy Twitter and firing the social media firm’s four top executives, twitterati in India on Friday seemed divided, with many who were vocal against content moderation on the platform hailing the development with others sounding a note of caution.
Musk has completed his USD 44 billion (one billion=100 crore) takeover of Twitter and fired the social media company’s four top executives, including CEO Parag Agrawal and legal executive Vijaya Gadde, according to the New York Times.
Musk singled out Gadde, 48, criticising her for her role in content moderation decisions at the company, the report said. “The bird is freed,” Musk, 51, tweeted after closing the deal.
Reacting to the development, filmmaker Ashoke Pandit tweeted, “While wickets are falling in Twitter after Elon Musk takes over Urban Naxals in India must be worried.”
Another filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri posted a picture of Gadde with Twitter’s ex-CEO Jack Dorsey, holding a placard saying “smash brahminical patriarchy”, also in the frame, and said, “They wanted to smash Brahminical Patriarchy but got smashed themselves.”
“An example of Brahminical Justice. Thanks Elon Musk,” he added.
Shefali Vaidya, who describes herself as a social media influencer, reacted to the development of Musk firing the top executives of Twitter, saying, “Excellent! I was shadow banned and my follower count dropped steadily from the day I welcomed Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter.”
“Hopefully, now Twitter India, Twitter Support will actually make it an unbiased platform!” she said.
There were also others who sounded a note of caution over the development. Sanjay Jha, former Congress leader and author, said Musk firing top Twitter team immediately on acquiring it upends basic leadership principles.
“This man is like Donald Trump on a lower dose of steroids,” Jha said.
Swati Chaturvedi, a columnist and journalist, reacted to the development saying, “Belt up folks, this is going to be a crazy ride.”
There has also been talk of imminent danger that social media will splinter into far-right wing and far left-wing echo chambers that generate more hate and divide society.
K T Lakshmi Kanthan, the head of Tamil Nadu Congress’ social media department said, “There are many right-wing supporters in Twitter India and letting fake handles to do their hate propaganda which spreads venom in the society. Elon Musk should look into this, if he really cares for the freedom of the bird.”
The New York Times said that Musk, the world’s richest man, closed the deal to buy Twitter on Thursday.
According to the NYT report, the Twitter executives who were fired include Agrawal, Gadde, Chief Financial Officer Ned Segal and General Counsel Sean Edgett. At least one of the executives who was fired was escorted out of Twitter’s office, the report said.
Agrawal, who was appointed Twitter’s chief executive last year, had clashed with Musk publicly and privately in recent months about the takeover, the NYT report said.
As the Twitter account of former US 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 US Capitol.
Musk had 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 Musk’s proposal to buy the social media service and take it private.
However, 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 Musk said he was terminating the deal, Twitter sued the billionaire, alleging he refused to honour his obligations to Twitter and its stockholders because the deal he signed no longer serves his personal interests.