Elon Musk has agreed to buy Twitter Inc. in a deal valued at about $44 billion, moving the world’s richest man a step closer to taking control of the social media platform.

Mr Musk reiterated his push to soften Twitter’s stance on content moderation. “Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated,” he said.

The Tesla boss also promised other new features, such as “making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating the spam bots and authenticating all humans.”

The takeover, if it goes through, would mark one of the biggest acquisitions in tech history and will likely have global repercussions for years to come, including possibly shaping how billions of people use social media.

Twitter said the transaction had been unanimously approved by its board of directors and was expected to close in 2022, pending regulatory sign-off and the approval of shareholders.

The company, which launched in 2006, currently has a market cap of nearly $40bn. Its co-founder Jack Dorsey stepped down as chief executive officer in November 2021.

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