And he got away with it. What started as a bravado tweet (yet another) that he published on April 14 and in which he said that he wanted to buy the social network so that he and everyone else could say what they wanted. In the name of absolute freedom of expression, he came to say. Over the days, that bravado tweet became such a solid offer that – as if it had been made by Marlon Brando in The Godfather– could not be refused.
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Elon Musk closed a deal to buy Twitter for $44 billion in cash on Monday, April 25. The network becomes 100% owned by Musk, the new champion of freedom of expression and who, for this reason, has criticized Twitter’s moderation in the past.
Musk wants Twitter’s algorithms — the ones that decide which tweet goes to the top, which goes next, and which doesn’t — to be public knowledge. He also doesn’t want the corporations that advertise online to have so much control over it.
What does this all mean? Many fear that there will now be less restraint and banned people will return, including former President Donald Trump. Musk also wants to make the network’s tools easier to use. He wants an edit button, as well as the definitive exit from “spam bots”, those so-called users who send thousands of tweets (many of them hate) and who have no real identity.
Former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey thanked both Musk and current Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal in tweets for “getting the company out of an impossible situation.” And he added: “Twitter has been owned by Wall Street and the advertising model. Getting it off Wall Street is the right first step.”
Musk, who according to Forbes has an estimated fortune of $268 billion, has said that doesn’t care mainly the economy of Twitter. “Having a public platform that is highly trusted and widely inclusive is extremely important for the future of civilization. I don’t care about the economy at all,” she said in a recent public address. That is, it has no intention of doing business with the social network. It will be necessary to see what happens if the company begins to generate losses.
The Twitter transaction was approved by the company’s board and is now subject to a shareholder vote, but no regulatory hurdles are expected, it says. Reuters.
Although only a tenth of the size of platforms like Facebook, Twitter has been credited with helping spawn the Arab Spring uprising. He has also been accused of playing a pivotal role in the January 6, 2021 storming of the Capitol.
When Twitter vetoed Trump over the former president’s responsibility for the violence, Musk said in a tweet that “A lot of people are going to be very unhappy that West Coast high-tech is the de facto arbiter of free speech.”
The White House on Monday declined to comment on the Musk deal but said President Joe Biden has long been concerned about the power of social media platforms. “Our concerns are not new,” said Jen Psaki, a White House spokeswoman, adding that the platforms must be held accountable.
As you can see, a new adventure in Musk’s life begins, and it is sure to give a lot to talk about.