Elon Musk took the reins at Twitter, ending a six-month saga over his $44 billion deal. We’ll take a look at the top executives that were reportedly booted from the company as Musk took over and the reaction from Republicans to the new ownership.
This is Hillicon Valley, detailing all you need to know about tech and cyber news from Capitol Hill to Silicon Valley. Send tips to The Hill’s Rebecca Klar and Ines Kagubare.
Musk takes the reins at Twitter
Elon Musk officially owns Twitter after closing the deal by a court-imposed Friday deadline, ending a six-month journey over his controversial $44 billion acquisition.
Musk’s agreement to buy Twitter faced several turns. The billionaire Tesla and SpaceX CEO sought to back out of the deal in July, but earlier this month he agreed to follow through on the initial April agreement as he faced a lawsuit from Twitter.
High-profile cuts: New ownership of the platform is expected to lead to shake-ups, and several executives have already been shown the door.
- CNBC first reported the deal’s closure and that former CEO Parag Agrawal and chief financial officer Ned Segal have been fired by Musk.
- Twitter’s head of legal policy Vijaya Gadde was also reportedly cut as part of the changes.
Read more about the executives who have exited Twitter.
Trump says he’ll stay on Truth Social
Former President Trump is sticking to his assertion that he won’t be back on Twitter now that it’s owned by Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.
“I am staying on Truth. I like it better, I like the way it works. I like Elon, but I’m staying on Truth,” Trump told Fox News Digital on Friday in an interview.
- Trump received a lifetime ban from Twitter after the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.
- Since leaving office, Trump launched Truth Social and has used it as his main mode of communicating with his followers.
- Many Trump supporters and allies had their accounts banned or restricted after the Capitol riot, under the previous Twitter leadership. Others left when Trump’s account was terminated.
Read more here.
REPUBLICANS CHEER MUSK’S TAKEOVER
Republicans are cheering Tesla CEO Elon Musk‘s takeover of Twitter after the sale of the company was closed on Thursday night.
Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) tweeted out celebratory messages about free speech, with Boebert promising that “a lot of suppressed truths, on social media and in Congress,” will come “to light in the next two years.
Musk has criticized Twitter policies that have banned users or censored tweets. He has pushed out several executives at the company who had instituted policies meant to police hate speech on the platform.
Read more here.
CIVIL RIGHTS COALITION SLAMS BIG TECH’S MISINFORMATION ‘CRISIS’
A coalition of consumer and civil rights groups on Thursday released a report that claimed online disinformation surrounding elections is an issue that won’t go away anytime soon.
“Election misinformation and disinformation are not anecdotal or seasonal,” reads the analysis, set to be released next Thursday, according to The Washington Post.
“Lies — particularly the brand of election-denialism rhetoric that rose in 2020 — have been ubiquitous online for years, and this crisis has no end in sight.”
The Change the Terms coalition, made up of 60 different organizations including civil rights group Color of Change and nonprofit watchdog Common Cause, warned that election-related disinformation spreads throughout the year, leading to “harassment of election officials” and “election-related hoaxes and violence.”
Read more here.
👾 BITS & PIECES
An op-ed to chew on: Disinformation’s next frontier: your texts and private messages
Notable links from around the web:
How ‘mule watchers’ evolved from a Truth Social meme into a ballot drop box patrol (NBC News / Vaugh Hillyard and Ben Collins)
Some far-right accounts on Twitter saw surge in new followers, researchers say. (The New York Times / Sheera Frenkel and Stuart A. Thompson)
From ‘Generation Kill’ to driving digital diplomacy: Nate Fick digs into role as first U.S. cyber ambassador (CyberScoop / Suzanne Smalley)
📦 Lighter click: The most wonderful time of the year
One more thing: Jan. 6 panel presses Secret Service
The House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack is planning to seek interviews with a half-dozen current and former Secret Service officials, according to a source familiar with the matter.
Dates for the interviews have not yet been set but come after the committee was given more than 1 million electronic communications from the Secret Service after an internal watchdog notified the panel that some of its texts from Jan. 6 appeared to have been “erased.”
The development was first reported by CNN.
Read more here.
That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s Technology and Cybersecurity pages for the latest news and coverage. We’ll see you next week.