Elon Musk buys Twitter for USD 44 billion (RM191 billion) after an “aggressive acquisition bid“. With the purchase, there are a few expected changes to the platform that he aims to make—and this could mean less content moderation and reinstatement of banned individuals like Donald Trump.
“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,” Musk stated.
On 15 April, we reported that Musk tweeted a letter, saying what he was planning to do with Twitter once he bought it. He continued by saying that he thinks “Twitter needs to be transformed as a private company”.
In response, Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal took his time to evaluate the offer—which was for USD 43 billion at the time. Twitter employees bluntly stated their thoughts to Agrawal, saying that the bid “felt like a hostage situation”.
There was word that Twitter is not interested in Musk’s offer, and considered a “poison pill” strategy to prevent him from attempting a hostile takeover. However, in a recent TED talk, Musk told his audience that he had a “plan B” if Twitter rejected him.
Twitter users and critics worry that Elon Musk, the world’s richest person, is about to have the power to reshape discourse on a social network used by more than 200 million people every day. And that worry isn’t unwarranted, either.
What can Musk’s takeover mean?
Musk describes himself as a “free speech absolutist”, and has criticised what he sees as excessive moderation on online platforms. And with Twitter previously suspending users like Donald Trump for “severe violations”, Musk’s ideas have brought out Trump supporters to support Musk’s potential buyout, hoping that Musk would “reinstate Donald Trump’s Twitter account“.
The Tesla and SpaceX CEO also stated that he wanted an edit button on Twitter—something pretty controversial amongst Twitter users. An edit button could mean that it could also be used to make substantial changes to popular posts. A user could revise a tweet after it has gone viral, completely altering the meaning and misleading other users.
However, it looks like Twitter already complied with Musk’s wishes even before the buyout. The platform is actually testing it out, but it isn’t available to everyone yet.
And with the company going private, it might get rid of advertisements and move more towards being a subscription-based service. Musk has said it should move to a subscription model. Twitter introduced Twitter Blue, a premium service that cost USD 2.99 a month for additional features, like an undo button that allows for tweets to be recalled before they are sent. Musk’s takeover could mean that Twitter Blue will be pushed out more, and would be less expensive.
The news of Musk buying Twitter has some pretty opposing opinions from different users. Controversial American right-wing activists like Tomi Lahren tweeted that the buyout could mean Trump’s return. Others ask if there was anything better to buy for USD 44 billion.