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Twitter was created by Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass, Biz Stone, and Evan Williams in 2006. It is one of the best platforms to become a social media influencer. After raising money from investors and venture capitalists for years, Twitter was made public in 2013 with 70 million shares up for sale. On April 25, 2022, renowned billionaire Elon Musk completed a deal worth around $44 Billion to purchase Twitter wholly and turn it into a private company.
So, why did Elon Musk buy Twitter, and what could it mean for you?
Why did Elon Musk Buy Twitter?
Twitter needs to be transformed as a private company. Twitter has extraordinary potential. I will unlock it.Elon Musk
Elon Musk believes Twitter has enormous potential, which will not be realized if the company remains publicly traded. He believes that the company must be privatized to implement the radical changes required to realize the company’s enormous potential.
His belief in free speech is the primary motivator behind his acquisition of the social media giant. Mr. Musk, a self-described “free speech absolutist,” stated on April 14 during an interview with TED that Twitter is the “de facto town square” and that “it’s very important for there to be an inclusive arena for free speech.”
“I invested in Twitter as I believe in its potential to be the platform for free speech around the globe, and I believe free speech is a societal imperative for a functioning democracy,” Musk wrote in a letter sent to Twitter Chairman Bret Taylor.
Elon Musk is a frequent Twitter user, with over 88 million followers as of April 2022.
He has consistently criticized the platform’s strict free speech restrictions and is not a stranger to Twitter’s strict content moderation. In fact, in 2018, US financial regulators accused him of misleading Tesla investors with his tweets, claims that were settled for $40 million and that Mr. Musk continues to deny.
In 2019, he was hit with a defamation suit, which he won, after calling a diver involved in the rescue of schoolboys in Thailand a “pedo guy” on the platform. Mr. Musk, who has a history of clashing with journalists and blocking critics, suggested that he saw Twitter as a place for debate.
How Elon Musk Acquired Twitter
I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter because that is what free speech means,
Mr. Musk reiterated his push to soften Twitter’s stance on content moderation in the news release announcing the deal. “Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to humanity’s future are debated,” Elon Musk has stated that money and profits are not driving this deal.
“This isn’t a way to make money… it’s just that I think having a public platform that is maximally trusted and broadly inclusive is extremely important to the future of civilization,” Musk said at TED2022. “But yeah, I don’t care about the economics at all.”
Elon Musk and Twitter’s relationship began when he announced that he had purchased a 9% stake in the company on April 4, 2022. Following the announcement, Twitter extended an invitation to Musk to join its board of directors, which he accepted. The position would have barred Musk from owning more than 14.9 percent of the company. Musk resigned from the board four days later, before his appointment was to take effect, after publishing several tweets critical of the company.
Musk then made an unsolicited and non-binding offer to buy the company for $44 billion, or $54.20 per share, and take it private on April 14. The bid was described as a hostile takeover attempt. The company responded that it would “carefully review the proposal to determine the course of action that it believes is in the company’s best interests and all Twitter stockholders.”
After days of negotiations, Twitter’s board publicly and unanimously accepted the $44 billion buyout offer on April 25. Twitter will become a private company once the transaction is completed sometime in 2022.
What are Elon Musk’s Plans for Twitter?
Taking the company private would enable Musk to make the changes he desires much more quickly, without having to answer to public markets.
Elon Musk’s primary strategy is to reduce Twitter’s content moderation and turn it into a “platform for free speech.” Twitter has constantly strictly policed its platform. Any tweet or content that violates its policies and guidelines will be quickly banned or suspended.
In fact, on January 8, 2021, Twitter suspended then-President Donald Trump’s account for violating Twitter’s anti-violence guidelines. Musk intends to relax these rules now that he has complete control of the company, allowing for “free speech.”
Journalists, politicians, and analysts all slammed the move. Many people believe that a free Twitter will foster hate speech, bigotry, misinformation, and cyberbullying. Musk has stated that Twitter should “match the country’s laws,” implying that he may continue practices such as region-locking certain content and adhering to rules such as India’s social media regulations.
Elon Musk has also stated that he intends to open-source Twitter’s recommendation algorithm, determining how tweets appear on users’ timelines. This entails publishing the algorithm on Github, where programmers worldwide can help improve the system. As a result, users will see more relevant content on their timelines. Musk has yet to outline specific plans for releasing the algorithm.
Elon Musk intends to rid the platform of the spambots and scam cryptocurrency impersonators that have plagued it. Musk himself was a victim of a cryptocurrency scam on Twitter, when his account, along with Barack Obama’s, Bill Gates’, and several other celebrities and billionaires, was hacked, resulting in thousands of dollars in losses. In addition, he intends to authenticate all humans on the platform.
What Could That Mean to You?
Elon Musk’s Twitter plans’ “free speech” component has received the most criticism. Because this could lead to an increase in bigotry, racism, misogyny, misinformation, etc. There is no denying that this has already occurred on the platform despite its strict guidelines, but with Musk’s planned relaxation of content moderation, this terrible content could skyrocket.
Following the announcement of the agreement, human rights groups expressed concern that a lack of restraint could lead to an increase in hate speech.
“The last thing we need is a Twitter that willfully ignores violent and abusive speech directed at users,” Amnesty International tweeted.
Many people have left Twitter because of Elon Musk’s plans to make it a “platform for free speech.”
The plan to open source Twitter’s algorithm can only improve the experience of browsing Twitter timelines. Because it means that users will only receive recommendations, advertisements, and tweets tailored to their patterns and preferences. This would go a long way toward ensuring that posts that aren’t tailored to your choices don’t appear on your timeline.
Twitter’s strict policing of hate speech has resulted in many users being wrongfully banned and suspended for innocent tweets that had no malicious intent. This is most likely due to Twitter’s AI and algorithm misinterpreting some tweets as harmful. That is one of the flaws Musk intends to address by making the algorithm open source, allowing it to be improved as much as possible.
There are numerous advantages to authenticating humans. It will go a long way toward reducing spam bots and fake accounts. Catfishing, which has plagued many people on social media and has led to scams and identity theft, will also be eliminated. Although the details of how this will be implemented are not yet known, authentication can range from a simple captcha “I am not a robot” verification to complete identity verification.
Musk has also stated that the platform will gradually transition away from the ad revenue model. This means no more obnoxious pop-up ads obstructing your scrolling and content consumption.
He also stated that he intends to allow longer posts and to add an ‘edit’ feature. He recently posted a poll on the platform, asking users to vote on whether they wanted the feature or not.
Elon Musk has purchased and taken complete control of Twitter. He intends to make the social media platform “an inclusive arena for free expression.” The acquisition has elicited polarized reactions. While many see it as an opportunity for Twitter to explore and realize its full potential finally, others see it as the eccentric billionaire’s attempt to turn one of the most popular online platforms into a personal toy and breeding ground for hate speech and abuse. Indeed, many users have stated that they will be leaving the platform following the deal’s announcement.
The transaction will take until the end of the year to complete, implying that we will have to wait a while before we see Musk’s plans materialize.
What do you think about the acquisition? Are you staying or leaving Twitter? Please let us know in the comments section.
If you enjoyed this article, be sure to check out What the Metaverse is and Why it Matters to You.