Is Elon Musk Planning To Replace Parag Agarwal As Twitter CEO? This Is What Report Says
According to a recent story from Reuters, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has hired a new CEO for Twitter and informed banks that agreed to help fund his USD 44 billion takeover offer about his plans to monetise tweets. Musk has outlined some ambitious aspirations for transforming Twitter into a “maximum enjoyment” environment.
Musk told Bret Taylor, chairman of Twitter, that he had lost faith in the company’s management, a sentiment he has previously expressed in SEC filings. According to the company’s latest proxy filing, if the transaction closes and Musk hires new management, Agrawal will receive $38.7 million due to a stipulation in his contract.
Earlier this month, Musk suggested big changes to Twitter Blue, the social media giant’s membership programme, which is presently priced at USD 2.99 per month, in deleted tweets.
Musk suggested decreasing the price, introducing a dogecoin payment option, and banning advertising. In another now-deleted post, Musk stated that he wanted Twitter to wean itself off its dependency on advertising for a big part of its profits.
Despite predictions that Twitter CEO Parag Agarwal may be replaced following the hostile acquisition by Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, Agrawal has expressed confidence in his future at the firm.
According to a Reuters article, Parag Agrawal attempted to calm employee rage during a company-wide meeting when staff demanded answers on how managers planned to handle a mass exodus spurred by Elon Musk.
The discussion comes after Musk, the Tesla (TSLA.O) CEO who inked a USD 44 billion deal to buy Twitter, repeatedly attacked Twitter’s content moderation processes and a key executive responsible for setting speech and safety regulations, according to the newspaper.
About Parag Agarwal
Parag Agrawal (born May 21, 1984) is the chief executive officer (CEO) of Twitter. He is an Indian-American software engineer.
Early life and education
Agrawal was born in the Indian city of Ajmer. Before going to Mumbai in the 1980s, he lived in a rented house with his grandparents. His father worked for the Indian Department of Atomic Energy as a top official, and his mother is a retired Economics professor from Mumbai’s Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute.
He graduated from Atomic Energy Central School and Junior College No.4 in 2001 with a secondary and senior secondary education.
In 2005, Agrawal received a Bachelor of Technology degree in computer science and engineering from IIT Bombay. The next year, he moved to the United States to pursue a PhD in computer science at Stanford University.
Agrawal worked as an intern at Microsoft Research and Yahoo! Research before joining Twitter as a software developer in 2011. In October 2017, Twitter announced the appointment of Agrawal as chief technology officer, following the retirement of Adam Massinger. In December 2019, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced that Agrawal would lead Effort Bluesky, a project to create a decentralised social network technology. In November 2021, Dorsey announced his departure as CEO of Twitter, with Agrawal taking over immediately. As CEO, Agrawal was paid $1 million per year and received $12.5 million in stock compensation.
Views and policies on online speech
When asked about freedom of speech in an interview with MIT Technology Review in November 2020, Agrawal stated, “Our role is not to be bound by the First Amendment, but to serve a healthy public conversation… [and to] focus less on thinking about free speech, but thinking about how the times have changed.”
Agrawal is married to Vineeta Agarwala. They have two children, one born in 2018 and the other in 2022. As Twitter’s CEO, he took paternity leave to care for his second child.
About Elon Musk
Elon Reeve Musk FRS, an entrepreneur, investor, and business leader, was born on June 28, 1971, and is the founder, CEO, and chief engineer of SpaceX; an angel investor; the CEO and Product Architect of Tesla, Inc.; the CEO and Product Architect of The Boring Company; and a co-founder of Neuralink and OpenAI. He is the world’s wealthiest person, with an estimated net worth of US$252 billion as of April 2022.
Elon is the son of a Canadian mother and a White South African father. Elon was born in Pretoria, South Africa and attended the University of Pretoria briefly before moving to Canada at age 17 and began his studies at Queen’s University before transferring two years later to the University of Pennsylvania, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Physics.
He travelled to California in 1995 to attend Stanford University but decided to pursue business with his brother Kimbal, co-founding Zip2. In 1999, Compaq paid $307 million to purchase the company. He co-founded X.com, an online bank, in the same year, which merged with Confinity in 2000 to form PayPal. In 2002, eBay paid $1.5 billion to purchase the business.
Musk is the CEO of SpaceX, an aerospace manufacturer and space transportation services company he started in 2002. He joined Tesla Motors, Inc. in 2004 as chairman and product architect, and in 2008 he was named CEO and was a co-founder of SolarCity, a solar energy services firm that Tesla later bought and renamed Tesla Energy.
He co-founded OpenAI in 2015, a nonprofit research organisation focused to AI that is human-friendly. He co-founded Neuralink, a neurotechnology firm that creates brain-computer interfaces, and The Boring Company, a tunnelling firm, in 2016.
In 2022, he agreed to pay $44 billion for Twitter, an American social networking business. He has been criticised for making speculative and unsubstantiated assertions.
He was sued by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in 2018 after fraudulently tweeting that he had obtained funding for a private Tesla acquisition. He agreed to a deal with the SEC but did not admit guilt, temporarily standing down as chairman and agreeing to Twitter usage restrictions. He won a slander suit filed against him by a British cave rescuer who assisted in the Tham Luang cave rescue in 2019.
Musk has been chastised for spreading false information regarding the COVID-19 epidemic and his other opinions on AI, bitcoin, public transportation, and politics.
Elon Musk secures $46.5 billion in funding to buy Twitter
Musk has received $46.5 billion in funds to buy Twitter Inc.
Musk is investing $33.5 billion in the transaction, including $21 billion in cash and $12.5 billion in margin loans.
After failing to reply to Musk’s offer to derail the billionaire’s effort to buy Twitter for $43 billion, Twitter implemented a “poison pill.”
Musk, a self-described “free speech absolutist,” feels that in order for the social media firm to thrive and become a platform for free expression, it must be made private.
According to sources familiar with the situation, Musk’s approach has sparked interest from private equity firms in participating in a Twitter acquisition.
Apollo Global Management Inc is looking into funding options for any acquisition and is willing to work with Musk or any other bidder. At the same time, Thoma Bravo announced on Twitter that it is working on a proposal.
Musk has 80 million followers on Twitter and has made a number of announcements.
Elon Musk Attempts Hostile Takeover of Twitter
The world was taken aback by Elon Musk’s attempt to buy Twitter. The Tesla CEO has made a $43 billion all-cash offer to purchase the social networking site.
Musk is one of Twitter’s largest stockholders, owning 9.2 per cent of the firm. People have expressed their feelings about the social media platform’s demise on Twitter, ranging from grave concern to amusing memes. Musk’s bid of $54.20 per share marks an 18% premium over Twitter’s closing price of $45.85 on April 13.
Reactions have begun to pour in from all sides. Here’s what people on Twitter had to say about Musk’s bid for Twitter.
The owner and millionaire entrepreneur of the Dallas Mavericks, Mark Cuban, said, “Do you want to see the rest of the world go insane? Increase the bid for Twitter by collaborating with Elon Musk and Peter Thiel.”
Ben Shapiro, a best-selling author in the New York Times, said: “Elon Musk’s takeover would be most notable for his automated employment sorting system. Almost all HR matters are taken dealt with on the spot.” “Twitter is far too crucial to be owned and controlled by a single person,” said venture capitalist Fred Wilson.
Angela Belcamino wondered if the takeover would cause viewers to desert the network. Musk’s “game” with Twitter, according to one user, could be “dangerous” because the medium has a lot of ability to impact public opinion.
Memes about Musk’s attempt to buy Twitter for cash increase on social media. Meanwhile, Twitter CEO Parag, during an all-hands meeting on Thursday, Agrawal apparently sought to reassure colleagues that the company was not being “kept hostage” by rumours regarding Musk’s approach to buying the company.
Twitter CEO Parag Agarwal faces employee anger over Elon Musk’s attacks at a company-wide meeting
During a company-wide meeting on Friday, Twitter Chief Executive Parag Agrawal attempted to calm staff rage by answering how managers planned to handle a mass exodus sparked by Elon Musk.
The discussion comes after Elon Musk, the Tesla CEO who signed a $44 billion deal to buy Twitter, publicly chastised Twitter’s content moderation processes and a top official in charge of setting speech and safety policy.
Executives said the business would monitor staff attrition daily. Still, it was too early to determine how the buyout deal with Musk would influence staff retention, according to the internal town hall meeting, which Reuters heard.
Musk has lobbied financiers on lowering board and executive compensation, although the exact cost cutbacks are unknown. Musk will not make any staff layoffs until he takes control of Twitter.
“I’m sick of hearing terms like shareholder value and fiduciary responsibility. What are your genuine feelings regarding the chance many people will lose their jobs once the deal is completed? “In a read aloud at the meeting, one employee questioned Agrawal.
According to Agrawal, Twitter has always cared for its employees and will continue to do so.
He stated, “I hope the future Twitter organisation will continue to care about its impact on the world and its customers.”
Musk has recently posted his displeasure with Twitter’s top lawyer, Vijaya Gadde, a Twitter veteran and well-known figure in Silicon Valley. Musk’s attack sparked a wave of internet hatred directed toward her.
Employees reportedly expressed problems to executives that Musk’s erratic behaviour could destabilise Twitter’s business and harm the firm financially as the company prepares to confront the advertising world in New York City next week.
“Do we have a near-term strategy for dealing with advertisers removing investment?” one employee inquired.
Twitter’s chief customer officer, Sarah Personette, said the firm was attempting to engage with advertisers more regularly and reassure them that “the way we service our customers is not changing.”
After the meeting, a Twitter employee told Reuters that the executives’ statements were untrustworthy.
“The public relations talk isn’t resonating. They instructed us not to leak and to do a good job, but there is no apparent motivation for employees to follow this advice. “According to Reuters, non-executive personnel’ salary has been capped due to the agreement.
According to research firm Equilar, if Agrawal is fired within 12 months of a change in power at the social media giant, he will collect $42 million.
Agrawal advised employees to expect a change in the future under new leadership, and he admitted that the company should have done better in the past.
“Yes, we could have done things better and differently. I had the option to do things differently. That’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, “he stated
Twitter declined to speak further.
What we know about Elon Musk’s big plans for Twitter so far
Elon Musk has outlined some bold, if yet hazy, intentions for turning Twitter into a place of “maximum joy” once he purchases the social media site for $44 billion and takes it private.
However, putting into action what is currently a jumble of hazy ideas and technical details could be far more complex than he suggests.
If Musk keeps his pledges to safeguard free speech, battle spam, and open up the “black box” of artificial intelligence algorithms that amplify social media trends, it might be a game-changer.
Free speech town square
The most ardent ambition of Musk’s — and the one with the haziest schedule — is to turn Twitter into a “politically neutral” digital town square for a global conversation, enabling as much free expression as each country’s laws allow.
He’s acknowledged that his plans to change Twitter could upset the political left while satisfying the right. He hasn’t indicated what he’d do about former President Donald Trump’s permanently suspended account or other right-wing leaders whose tweets have been found to breach Twitter’s hate speech, violent threats, and destructive disinformation policies.
Musk hasn’t ruled out the possibility of temporarily suspending some accounts. His most recent criticism was of Twitter’s “very improper” suppression of a New York Post article about Hunter Biden in 2020, which the company later said was a mistake and removed within 24 hours.
One of Musk’s most specific requests in his merger statement reflects his long-standing interest in artificial intelligence: “making the algorithms open-source to promote confidence.” He’s referring to the algorithms that determine what appears in customers’ feeds by ranking material.
The suspicion among Musk supporters stems in part from rumours of “shadow banning” on social media among US political right. This appears to be a hidden feature that limits the reach of disruptive users without cancelling their accounts. There is no proof that Twitter’s platform is biased against conservatives; in fact, studies have shown the opposite, particularly when it comes to conservative media.
Musk has advocated that the underlying computer code that runs Twitter’s news feed be made publicly available on the coder community site GitHub. According to a Northwestern University computer scientist, such “code-level openness” gives people little insight into how Twitter works for them without the algorithms’ data.
Musk’s broader ambition to assist people in figuring out why their tweets get elevated or downgraded and if human moderators or automated systems are making those decisions, Diakopoulos said, has noble intentions. But this isn’t a simple task. Too much transparency about how people’s tweets are sorted, for example, can make it easier for “dishonest people” to rig the system and manipulate an algorithm to maximise visibility for their cause, according to Diakopoulos.
‘Defeating the spam bots’
Musk has been angered by “spambots” who impersonate real people, as his Twitter popularity has created a slew of fake accounts that exploit his image and name to promote cryptocurrency scams that appear to come from the Tesla CEO.
According to David Greene, the civil rights director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Twitter users, including Musk, “don’t want spam.” Who, on the other hand, determines what defines a spam bot?
“Do you mean all bots?” I’ll ask. “For example, if I follow a Twitter bot that just feeds me historic fruit photos, that’s what I’ll do.” “Is it legal for such a thing to exist?” he inquired.
Several spam-filled Twitter accounts are at least partially operated by genuine people, ranging from those that promote items to those that promote inflammatory political content to meddle in other nation’s elections.
‘Authenticate all humans’
Musk has stated several times that he wants Twitter to “authenticate all individuals,” an imprecise request that could be linked to his goal to cleanse the service of spam accounts.
Increased identification checks, like two-factor authentication or popups that ask which of six photographs depicts a school bus, could deter people from creating a slew of fake accounts.
Musk might also propose increasing the “blue check” — the verification checkmark seen on well-known Twitter accounts like Musk’s — to ensure that people are who they say they are. According to Musk, the checkmarks may be purchased as part of a premium service.
But, some digital rights activists are concerned that these steps may lead to a “real-name” law, akin to Facebook’s requirement that users log in and use their full names in their accounts. Musk’s focus on free speech appears to be contradicted by muzzling anonymous whistleblowers or persons living under authoritarian regimes. It can be hazardous if a dissident message is linked to a specific person.
Twitter without ads?
Although it wasn’t one of the targets listed in the official merger announcement, Musk has raised the concept of an ad-free Twitter. That could be because cutting off the company’s main source of revenue, even for the world’s wealthiest person, would be a difficult task.
Advertisements accounted for more than 92% of Twitter’s revenue in the January-March fiscal quarter. Last year, the company launched Twitter Blue, a premium subscription service, but it doesn’t appear that it has been successful in persuading anyone to pay for it.
Musk has stated that he prefers a more robust subscription-based model for Twitter, which would provide more people with an ad-free option. That would align with his desire to loosen Twitter’s content restrictions, which brands want as they do not want their ads to be surrounded by insulting and hateful tweets.
So many recommendations for Twitter and uttered that it’s challenging to know which ones he takes seriously. He’s joined the expected demand for an “edit button” — which Twitter claims it’s already working on — that would allow users to correct a tweet after it’s been posted. Musk’s less severe notion recommended turning Twitter’s downtown San Francisco offices into a homeless shelter “because hardly one shows up anyhow,” a remark that was regarded as a barb at Twitter’s pandemic-era workforce more than a great vision for the facility.
Musk did not reply to an email seeking clarification on his plans.
Experts see harsh realities ahead for Elon Musk on Twitter
Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, seems to be on a difficult path to turning Twitter into a money-making platform where anyone may say anything.
Musk’s $44 billion purchase of the global messaging network still needs shareholder and regulatory approval.
While Musk hasn’t given any specifics on how he plans to handle Twitter’s business, he has shown interest in reducing content filtering to a bare minimum and generating revenue through subscriptions.
“Musk hasn’t given an idea of what the platform may be other than campaigning for free expression,” Creative Strategies analyst told AFP.
“He did not mention if Twitter has an age problem, a geographic bias, the largest competition, or what else he’s thinking.”
– Subtract ads? –
Baird Equity Research analyst Colin Sebastian stated that Musk’s rhetoric of abandoning Twitter’s advertising model favouring subscriptions did not appear possible.
“Elon Musk has suggested abandoning the ad income model,” Sebastian explained.
“Unless he expects to cover interest payments on debt out of his own pocket, we find it difficult to imagine this would happen.”
When social media services like Facebook are free, analysts doubt that Twitter users will flock to pay for premium content or capabilities like retweeting tweets. Musk could try to monetise his posts by charging other websites for anything they take from his tweets.
Musk’s declared position as a “free speech absolutist” threatens to stifle the advertising money that Twitter now relies on.
Analysts agreed that brands are wary of having their advertising associated with controversial content, like misinformation or posts that could cause real-world harm.
According to a digital marketing specialised firm focusing mainly on subscriptions is likely to limit Twitter’s viewership. Allowing more controversial tweets creates a “toxic climate” that repels advertisers.
Musk will be on the hook for large interest payments from financing planned to buy the San Francisco-based company as Twitter struggles to make money.
Meanwhile, US lawmakers threaten to change a law that exempts internet platforms from liability for what users write. A Musk-led Twitter might serve as a poster child for the initiative.
– Troll roadmap? –
Academics pointed out that Musk’s discussion of getting rid of “bots,” software-powered accounts that fire off postings, and confirming user identities raises privacy problems and the very right to free expression that he claims to value.
“Some of Musk’s ideas may potentially conflict with one another.”
Musk’s ideas for Twitter include:
Making the platform’s software public.
Allowing users to see how posts are handled.
Even offering modifications.
Making Twitter software, “open source” could provide users more control and insight into the site. Still, according to Bail, it could offer “uncivil actors” instructions on how to propagate their messages more widely.
“Open-sourcing the platform may make it easier for trolls to dominate it,” Bail added.
Musk would take over Twitter while overseeing Tesla, Boring Company, SpaceX, and the Neuralink project, which aims to connect people’s brains with computers.
“It’s like he’s collecting CEO jobs,” Enderle Group tech analyst Rob Enderle joked.
“Perhaps if he gets ten, he gets free coffee.”
Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey was chastised for running digital payments business Block, then known as Square, while still serving as Twitter’s CEO.
On the other hand, Musk is a proven businessman and the world’s richest person.
“The only thing that makes me think is that he has experience with engineering firms, but Twitter isn’t an engineering firm,” Bail explained.
“It’s not about teaching an automobile to drive itself; it’s about putting people’s needs first.”
edited and proofread by nikita sharma