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Elon Musk says buying Twitter is about ‘helping humanity’

Elon Musk has said he is buying Twitter to “help humanity” and create a “common digital town square” in a message ahead of the expected completion of his takeover of the site on Friday.

In a statement uploaded to Twitter aimed at the platform’s advertisers, Mr Musk said he was acquiring the platform because he believed it was important to have a space where “a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner”.

He said there was currently a “great danger” that social media will “splinter into far right wing and far left wing echo chambers that generate more hate and divide our society”.

Mr Musk’s protracted 44 billion dollar (£37.9 billion) takeover of Twitter is expected to be completed in the US on Friday.

The acquisition has raised concerns in some quarters over Mr Musk’s support of “absolute free speech”, which could see the Tesla boss allow controversial and previously suspended accounts, including that of former US president Donald Trump, back onto the platform.

But in his message, Mr Musk appeared to be attempting to calm any fears among advertisers about the platform becoming more controversial and reducing its content moderation controls to protect free speech.

“Twitter obviously cannot become a free-for-all hellscape, where anything can be said with no consequences,” he said.

“In addition to adhering to the laws of the land, our platform must be warm and welcoming to all, where you can choose your desired experience according to your preferences, just as you can choose, for example, to see movies or play video games ranging from all ages to mature.”

In a further sign that Mr Musk’s takeover of the platform was nearing, the New York Stock Exchange’s website said that Twitter shares will be suspended from trading on Friday.

On Wednesday, the billionaire SpaceX and Tesla boss posted a bizarre video of himself entering Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters carrying a sink alongside the message “Entering Twitter HQ – let that sink in”.

He has also updated his bio on the social media platform to “Chief Twit”.

According to reports, Mr Musk told staff during his visit that it was not true that he was planning on cutting up to 75% of Twitter staff after acquiring the company.

It had previously been reported that Mr Musk had told investors he planned to cut back around three-quarters of the firm’s 7,500 employees.