It’s Elon Musk vs Parag Agrawal at Twitter as platform suffers

Elon Musk and Parag Agrawal.

New Delhi, (Samajweekly) With Elon Musk putting the $44 billion Twitter deal temporarily on hold on Friday, serious questions now linger on the future of the platform that is battling multiple issues — from employee exodus to users leaving amid the ‘free speech’ call that will drive hate speech and abusive content.

Musk now wants to know how many Twitter accounts are spam or fake, before he invests a huge sum of money.

The sudden realisation came when the micro-blogging platform revealed in a filing earlier this week that false or spam accounts represented fewer than 5 per cent of its monetisable daily active users (mDAUs) during the first quarter (Q1).

Amid this, Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal sacked a couple of key executives in a bid to “take the team in a different direction”.

Agrawal, who himself faces sacking once Musk takes over, fired consumer product leader Kayvon Beykpour and head of revenue product Bruce Falck.

A “disappointed” Beykpour tweeted: “The truth is that this isn’t how and when I imagined leaving Twitter, and this wasn’t my decision. Parag asked me to leave after letting me know that he wants to take the team in a different direction”.

“While I’m disappointed, I take solace in a few things: I am INSANELY proud of what our collective team achieved over the last few years, and my own contribution to this journey,” he posted.

In addition, Agrawal said that effective this week, Twitter is pausing most hiring and backfills, except for business critical roles.

“We will also be reviewing all extended offers to determine criticality and those that should be pulled back. We are not planning company-wide layoffs, but leaders will continue making changes to their organisations to improve efficiencies as needed,” Agrawal said in a memo sent to employees.

Before putting the Twitter deal on hold, Musk asked Parag Agrawal-led platform to reinstate the account of former US President Donald Trump.

“Even though I think a less divisive candidate would be better in 2024, I still think Trump should be restored to Twitter,” he said on Friday.

“Don’t Diss Information,” he posted to his more than 92 million followers.

The latest development indicates a bitter war between Musk and Agrawal.

Musk has specific plans for Twitter products like verifying users who pay for Twitter Blue subscriptions, charging for embedded tweets, and how to further grow Twitter revenue and users.

Meanwhile, Agrawal had begun restructuring the Twitter team, after taking over from Jack Dorsey in November.

Several senior Twitter executives have left in recent days, amid reports of users leaving the platform over ‘free speech’ concerns.

It wouldn’t be surprising to see more changes coming to Twitter as Musk and Agrawal try to prove their points to the 229 million mDAUs.