Tesla and SpaceX owner takes control of Twitter and fires its top executives, US media report, hours before the deadline for the billionaire to seal his on-again, off-again deal to purchase the social media network.

Musk says he was buying the platform to help humanity and doesn't want it to become a
Musk says he was buying the platform to help humanity and doesn't want it to become a "free-for-all hellscape." (AFP)

Tesla and SpaceX owner Elon Musk has taken over Twitter and immediately sacked its top executives, some of them even escorted out of the company's headquarters in Los Angeles, US media reported.

Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal, CFO Ned Segal, and legal affairs chief Vijaya Gadde were among the executives terminated by Musk, who formally completed the $44 billion buyout deal on Friday.

Agrawal and Segal were escorted out from Twitter headquarters, local media said. Musk had accused them of misleading him and Twitter investors over the number of fake accounts on the social media platform.

Musk had a court-imposed Friday deadline to complete the Twitter deal he inked in April. 

Twitter, Musk and the executives did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Musk says he wants to "defeat" spam bots on Twitter, make the algorithms that determine how content is presented to its users publicly available, and prevent the platform from becoming an echo chamber for hate and division, even as he limits censorship.

Yet Musk has not offered details on how he will achieve all this and who will run the company. 

He has said he plans to cut jobs, leaving Twitter's approximately 7,500 employees fretting about their future. He also said on Thursday he did not buy Twitter to make more money but "to try to help humanity, whom I love."

READ MORE: Musk, Twitter's Agrawal reschedule questioning ahead of buyout trial

Multi-billion acquisition

The $44-billion acquisition is the culmination of a remarkable saga, full of twists and turns, that sowed doubt over whether Musk would complete the deal. It began on April 4, when Musk disclosed a 9.2 percent stake in the San Francisco company, making him its largest shareholder.

The world's richest person then agreed to join Twitter's board, only to balk at the last minute and offer to buy the company instead for $54.20 per share, an offer that Twitter was unsure whether to interpret as another of Musk's cannabis jokes.

Musk's offer was real, and over the course of just one weekend later in April, the two sides reached a deal at the price he suggested. This happened without Musk carrying out any due diligence on the company's confidential information, as is customary in an acquisition.

In the weeks that followed, Musk had second thoughts.

He complained publicly that he believed Twitter's spam accounts were significantly higher than Twitter's estimate, published in regulatory filings, of less than 5 percent of its monetizable daily active users. His lawyers then accused Twitter of not complying with his requests for information on the subject.

READ MORE: Musk offers to close Twitter buyout at $44B

'Chief Twit'

Since Musk moved forward to close the deal, he has indulged the deal hype. He walked into Twitter's headquarters on Wednesday with a big grin and carrying a porcelain sink, subsequently tweeting "let that sink in."

He changed his description in his Twitter profile to "Chief Twit."

He also tried to calm fears among employees that major layoffs are coming and assured advertisers that his past criticism of Twitter's content moderation rules would not harm its appeal.

"Twitter obviously cannot become a free-for-all hellscape, where anything can be said with no consequences!" Musk said in an open letter to advertisers on Thursday.

Musk has indicated he sees Twitter as a foundation for creating a "super app" that offers everything from money transfers to shopping and ride-hailing.

"The long-term potential for Twitter in my view is an order of magnitude greater than its current value," Musk said on Tesla's call with analysts on Oct 19.

READ MORE: Elon Musk reportedly cutting 75% of Twitter's workforce after buyout

Source: TRTWorld and agencies