Elon Musk dissolves Twitter's board making him sole director of social media firm

31 October 2022, 19:08

Elon Musk has fired Twitter's board and wants to charge people to keep their blue ticks
Elon Musk has fired Twitter's board and wants to charge people to keep their blue ticks. Picture: Social media/Getty

By Asher McShane

Elon Musk has fired Twitter's board of nine directors, making him the sole director after his takeover deal, according to a company filing submitted today.

The filing lodged with the Securities and Exchange Commission states that all previous members of the board are no longer directors ‘in accordance with the terms of the merger agreement’.

Elon is also testing the waters on asking users to pay for verification.

A venture capitalist working with Mr Musk tweeted a poll asking how much users would be willing to pay for the blue check mark that Twitter has historically used to verify higher-profile accounts so other users know it is really them.

Mr Musk, whose account is verified, replied, "Interesting".

Critics have derided the mark, often granted to celebrities, politicians, business leaders and journalists, as an elite status symbol.

Read more: Twitter users 'face paying $20 monthly subscription fee for blue ticks'

Twitter also uses the blue check mark to verify activists and people who suddenly find themselves in the news, as well as little-known journalists at small publications around the globe, as a tool to curb misinformation.

"The whole verification process is being revamped right now," Mr Musk tweeted on Sunday.

Having taken ownership of the social media service, Mr Musk has invited a group of tech investors to help guide the San Francisco-based company's transformation, which is likely to include a shake-up of its staff. There are suggestions up to 25 per cent of Twitter's workforce could be at risk.

Mr Musk last week fired CEO Parag Agrawal and other top executives. There has been uncertainty about if and when he could begin larger-scale lay-offs.

Those who have revealed they are helping Mr Musk include Sriram Krishnan, a partner at venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, which pledged back in the spring to chip in to Mr Musk's plan to buy the company and take it private.

Mr Krishnan, who is also a former Twitter product executive, said in a tweet that it is "a hugely important company and can have great impact on the world and Elon is the person to make it happen".

Jason Calacanis, the venture capitalist who tweeted the poll about whether users would pay for verification, said over the weekend he is "hanging out at Twitter a bit and simply trying to be as helpful as possible during the transition".

Mr Calacanis said the team already "has a very comprehensive plan to reduce the number of (and visibility of) bots, spammers, & bad actors on the platform".

And in the Twitter poll, he asked if users would pay between five dollars and 15 dollars monthly to "be verified & get a blue check mark" on Twitter.

Twitter is currently free for most users because it depends on advertising for its revenue.

Mr Musk agreed to buy Twitter for 44 billion dollars (£38 billion) in April but it was not until Thursday evening that he finally closed the deal, after his attempts to back out of it led to a protracted legal fight with the company.

Mr Musk's lawyers are now asking the Delaware Chancery Court to throw out the case, according to a court filing made public on Monday.

The two sides were supposed to go to trial in November if they did not close the deal by the end of last week.

Mr Musk has made a number of pronouncements since early this year about how to fix Twitter, and it remains unclear which proposals he will prioritise.