Elon Musk’s months-long, on-again, off-again effort to acquire social media giant Twitter for $44 billion came to a conclusion Thursday evening as reports surfaced that a final deal was finally struck.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Musk also fired Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal and Chief Financial Officer Ned Segal after the deal closed. The news comes on the brink of a court-stipulated Friday deadline for the deal to happen.

Earlier on Thursday, Musk shared a lengthy tweet revealing some of his motivations for buying the company.

What did Elon Musk say about his plans for Twitter?

In a tweet addressed to “Twitter Advertisers” on Thursday, Musk dispensed with his typical, quippy one-liner approach for a lengthy post that offered more detail and insight into his plans for the platform than have yet to be publicly shared.

Musk started by noting that much of the speculation surrounding his plans for Twitter and potential changes to advertising formats has mostly been inaccurate and stipulated that his main motivation for acquiring the platform is about his interest in creating a forum for open dialogue.

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“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 wrote. “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 that traditional media outlets have sacrificed objectivity in the pursuit of audience growth and “fueled and catered to those polarized extremes, as they believe that is what brings in the money, but, in doing so, the opportunity for dialogue is lost.”

Musk said his intentions for Twitter aren’t about making more money but are, instead, “to help humanity, whom I love.” And he recognized that pursuing his goal won’t be easy and could very well result in failure.

Qualifying some earlier statements about relaxing Twitter’s current content moderation policies as a “free speech absolutist,” Musk said he believes there’s a middle ground for content oversight that is welcoming to Twitter users’ wide range of opinions and viewpoints.

“... Twitter obviously cannot become a free-for-all hellscape, where anything can be said with no consequences,” Musk wrote. “In addition to adhering to the laws of the land, our platform must be warm and welcoming to all, where you can choose your desired experience according to your preferences, just as you can choose, for example, to see movies or play video games ranging from all ages to mature.”

A sign is pictured outside the Twitter headquarters in San Francisco on Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2022. A court has given Elon Musk until Friday to close his April agreement to acquire the company after he earlier tried to back out of the deal. | Godofredo A. Vásquez, Associated Press

Other things Musk has shared about changes at Twitter

Last week, reporting by The Washington Post revealed Musk at one time said he would slash Twitter’s workforce by 75% should he acquire the company, cutting Twitter’s staff of 7,500 to a skeleton crew of around 2,000.

Twitter has struggled to reach the scale, and revenues, attained by other major social media platforms, and company leaders hinted at plans to reduce its operating budget by some $800 million and reduce staff by around 25% before the Musk deal surfaced. But experts say Musk’s suggested cuts to Twitter’s workforce, while alluring to potential investors, could leave the company reeling.

“A 75% headcount cut would indicate, at least out of the gates, stronger free cash flow and profitability, which would be attractive to investors looking to get in on the deal,” Wedbush analyst Dan Ives told The Associated Press. “That said, you can’t cut your way to growth.”

Ives added that such a drastic reduction in Twitter’s workforce would likely set the company back years.

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What does free speech have to do with it?

Musk has previously railed against Twitter’s current moderation guidelines and promised to ease content oversight on the platform. He has also taken particular note of permanent bans assessed by Twitter’s moderation team, including the platform’s most infamous move to ban former President Donald Tump.

In May, Musk said he was likely to reverse the permanent ban on Trump that was announced just days after the Jan. 6, 2021, riot and insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

If Trump is allowed to return to the platform, it’s not clear if the almost 90 million followers he had before getting the boot would be reinstated along with his account.

Back in April, Musk made free speech a central focus in his statements about his plans to buy Twitter.

“Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated,” Musk said in a statement accompanying Twitter’s announcement of the deal in April. “I also want to make Twitter better than ever by enhancing the product with new features, making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating the spam bots, and authenticating all humans.

“Twitter has tremendous potential — I look forward to working with the company and the community of users to unlock it.”

Musk vs. Twitter: How we got here

Earlier this month, Musk revived his $44 billion offer to buy Twitter, another chapter in an epic tale that’s been alternately revving up and spinning out from the start of the new year.

The about-face comes after months of wrangling that began with Musk buying up stock in the company (January), then offering to buy the company (April), then reneging on the offer (July 8), arguing that Twitter hadn’t met its disclosure duties when it comes to identifying the number of fake or “bot” accounts on the platform.

Twitter called shenanigans on that argument and filed a lawsuit against Musk (July 12), looking to compel him to follow through with the deal or pay some very hefty penalties.

Musk and Twitter were just a couple of weeks away from the launch of their legal battle in a Delaware specialty court when it was disclosed in an Oct. 4 U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing that Musk’s legal team had proposed a do-over to Twitter’s lawyers. Not surprisingly, Twitter accepted.

The exchange put the deal back on its original terms wherein Musk will cash out Twitter stockholders at $54.20 per share, the number behind the $44 billion buyout figure.

A done deal may only be the beginning

Industry experts have previously warned that even if the deal came together, Twitter would still have plenty of challenges ahead.

“The deal will solve some of the short-term uncertainty at the company, but Twitter is essentially in the same place it was in April,” Jasmine Enberg, an analyst with Insider Intelligence, told The Associated Press.

“There is still plenty of uncertainty around what Musk intends to do with Twitter, as well as the future of a company with a leader who has wavered in his commitment to buying it. And if we’ve learned anything from this saga, it’s that Musk is unpredictable and that it isn’t over yet.”