Twitter’s takeover: Musk buys social media site


Melody Tavallaee

Recently, Elon Musk brought Twitter for 44 million dollars, switching the company private. “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 said in a press release.

After being an avid user of Twitter for 13 years and gaining almost 90 million followers, Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and Space X and the wealthiest person in the world, took the social networking platform private by purchasing it for $44 billion.

“The Twitter Board conducted a thoughtful and comprehensive process to assess Elon’s proposal with a deliberate focus on value, certainty, and financing,” Twitter’s Independent Board Chair Bret Taylor said in a press release. “The proposed transaction will deliver a substantial cash premium, and we believe it is the best path forward for Twitter’s stockholders.”

At the end of January 2022, Musk started to purchase Twitter shares and by April 4, he became the company’s largest shareholder with 9.1%. With such a large share, he was offered a spot on Twitter’s board but he turned it down. 

“The board offered him a seat contingent on a background check and formal acceptance,” CEO of Twitter Parag Agrawal tweeted. “The effective date was 4/9, but the same day Elon shared that he will no longer be joining.”

Elon’s acquisition of Twitter has sparked conversations on campus concerning Twitter’s large political and cultural impact.

“I definitely think that Twitter is a large part of American culture as it revolves around almost every aspect of our lives,” junior Shannon Christian said. “Politics, news, humor, you can read about virtually everything on that app and it’s definitely factored into the idea of non-impinged speech that allows people to speak out in any way that they desire to.”

Now that Musk has purchased Twitter, he may begin embarking on his various plans for the social media giant.

“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 said in a press release. “I also want to make Twitter better than ever by enhancing the product with new features, making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating the spambots, and authenticating all humans. Twitter has tremendous potential – I look forward to working with the company and the community of users to unlock it.”

Many analysts think that Elon’s mission will lead to a large shift in not only Twitter’s culture but also Twitter’s leadership due to his comments which include comparing the current CEO to Joseph Stalin

“He’ll be hiring people that understand his vision, understand the kind of work, product and culture he’s trying to create,” Futurum Research principal analyst Daniel Newman said to CNN. “There’s no question that this is going to be a 180-degree culture shift. Tesla is known as being a very hard culture, pretty demanding of people, [while] Twitter was kind of seen as a little bit of a softer culture, a little more thoughtful about people and obviously was very attentive to a lot of social issues.”

Musk’s vision for the future of Twitter has caused a lot of backlash in regards to his ideals of free speech.

“I think that Musk’s conception of free expression is both contradictory and foolish,” free speech activist Jillian York said to the Guardian. “Absolutism on a platform like Twitter fails to take into account the very real harms that Twitter can cause as a global platform, for instance being used by malicious actors like ISIS and rightwing extremists.”

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Despite the backlash, many still believe Musk’s leadership will highly benefit the company and platform as a whole.

“I think Elon Musk buying Twitter is a good thing because it’ll help the company,” senior Evan Moros said. “He has done really well with Tesla and other tech companies he has invested in, so the experiences he’s had should benefit Twitter.”

But when all is said and done, the question for Christian isn’t about what Musk will do with Twitter; it’s about whether he should have bought Twitter in the first place.

“Personally I believe that there are more productive ways to spend billions of dollars rather than buying out the most publicly used app,” Christian said. “If Elon was really intending on dropping a lot of money, why couldn’t it have been something restorative that actually encouraged human progress? To me, it feels like a competition between the world’s 1% as in who has the most to their name which is so damaging in its own way.”