Elon Musk finally owns Twitter. What next? Get the latest

Elon Musk has taken control of Twitter and ousted the CEO, chief financial officer and the company’s general counsel, two people familiar with the deal said Thursday night.

The people wouldn’t say if all the paperwork for the deal, originally valued at $44 billion, had been signed or if the deal has closed. But they said Musk is in charge of the social media platform and has fired CEO Parag Agrawal, CFO Ned Segal and General Counsel Vijaya Gadde. Neither person wanted to be identified because of the sensitive nature of the personnel moves.

The departures come just hours before a deadline set by a Delaware judge to finalize the deal on Friday. She threatened to schedule a trial if no agreement was reached.

Earlier in the day, Musk tried to soothe leery Twitter advertisers saying that he is buying the platform to help humanity and doesn’t want it to become a “free-for-all hellscape.”

The message appeared to be aimed at addressing concerns among advertisers — Twitter’s chief source of revenue — that Musk’s plans to promote free speech by cutting back on moderating content will open the floodgates to more online toxicity and drive away users.

Musk has previously expressed distaste for advertising and Twitter’s dependence on it, suggesting more emphasis on other business models such as paid subscriptions that won’t allow big corporations to dictate policy on how social media operates. But on Thursday, he assured advertisers he wants Twitter to be “the most respected advertising platform in the world.”

The note is a shift from Musk’s position that Twitter is unfairly infringing on free speech rights by blocking misinformation or graphic content, said Pinar Yildirim, associate professor of marketing at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.

This story is developing. Check later for more updates.