Highlights

  • The Elon Musk and Twitter saga
  • How Twitter could change under Elon Musk
  • What lies ahead for Twitter

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Elon Musk to buy Twitter: what comes next for the platform?

Elon Musk's proposed takeover of Twitter is poised to cause changes in one of the world's largest social media networks. 

Elon Musk has always loved Twitter, and after years of couple-y fights, the two seem to be finally together!

The SpaceX and Tesla boss who enjoys a whopping following of 84.9 mn on the platform, is known for his prolific, and mostly controversial tweets.

On April 25, the board of social media platform Twitter agreed to a $44 billion takeover offer from Elon Musk. But how did we get here? Let’s take a quick look.

How Elon Musk acquired Twitter

Elon Musk had joked about buying Twitter as early as 2017, but things got serious in 2022. The world’s richest man reportedly started buying twitter stock in January, and according to reports by AP, had consolidated a 5% stake in the company by March 14.

By April 4, Musk had taken a 9.2% stake in Twitter, worth around $2.9 billion, making him the single largest shareholder. Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal then announced that Musk would be appointed to the company’s board, an invite which Musk rejected.

Instead, on April 14, Elon Musk offered to buy Twitter outright, in an all-cash deal worth $43.4 billion.

Twitter was however, less effusive in its praise for Musk. Twitter went on the defensive, deploying a ‘poison pill’ strategy, which would flood the market with newly created stock and make the takeover prohibitively expensive, even for the world’s richest man.

On April 24, Twitter’s board held discussions with Musk, wherein they seriously considered his offer. The discussions continued well into the next day, and the $44 billion deal was sealed on April 25.

Also Read: Twitter top lawyer cries at meeting about Elon Musk's takeover

Under Musk, what next for Twitter?

Once Elon Musk takes over as owner, things are set to change.

Twitter, which is currently a publicly listed company, will turn private, and stockholders will receive $54.20 in cash for each share of Twitter common stock that they own.

Musk has, in the past, criticised Twitter for lacking features, which he may now work to add.

Among these has been the "edit Tweet" button, which Twitter users have long clamoured for. He has also called for the company’s algorithm, which controls what content people see, to be made transparent and open source. He has also promised to ‘defeat spam bots’, authenticate all real human users, and combat cryptocurrency scams.

Elon Musk has regularly criticised Twitter for its alleged lack of adherence to free speech principles. In a statement announcing the deal, he refers to the platform as the “the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated”. He has tweeted saying that wants even his worst critics to remain on Twitter.

Who will lead Twitter now?

While it is not clear who will lead the social media giant moving forward, but it looks like the end of the road for CEO Parag Agrawal, who took over from co-founder and former boss Jack Dorsey last November. According to a report by research firm Equilar, Parag Agrawal will get paid $42mn is he's sacked as CEO within 12 months of being appointed.

Also Read: Elon Musk to buy Twitter; where is the cash coming from

Twitter takeover: Opinion divided

Former Twitter CEO and founder Jack Dorsey has expressed cautious enthusiasm over the takeover, saying that he trusts Elon Musk to ‘extend the light of consciousness’.

But opinion is clearly divided.

Musk's fellow space enthusiast & Amazon founder Jeff Bezos couldn't let the opportunity slide. He chimed in, flagging a post by a New York Times reporter who pointed to connections between Tesla and the Chinese government.

Many are not enthusiastic about Twitter’s content moderation policy being under Musk's control, who calls himself a ‘free speech absolutist’.

Human rights organisation Amnesty International has expressed concern with any steps that Twitter might take to erode enforcement of the policies and mechanisms designed to protect users.

Some users have already threatened to quit the platform, among them British actor Jameela Jamil, who says she fears the new focus on free speech would help Twitter reach its ‘final form of totally lawless hate, bigotry, and misogyny’.

However, Republicans in the United States are already calling for former President Donald Trump be reinstated on the platform.

Elon Musk has, in the past, said that he would prefer ‘timeouts’ over permanent bans as punitive measures for those who violate Twitter’s policies.

Trump, on his part, has said he will not return to Twitter

Also Read: Elon Musk's Trinity: Twitter, Tesla and SpaceX, but there is Boring and Neuralink too

Twitter users, on the other hand, are wasting no time in mining the whole situation for meme gold.

Some suggested that Musk could have just downloaded Twitter for free off the app store, instead of buying it for $44 billion, while others posted about Elon finally setting the caged bird free.

Many have pointed out Musk’s free-wheeling approach to posting on his own Twitter profile, where he has been known to post irreverent memes, the latest comparing Bill Gates to the pregnancy emoji.

Whatever one may feel about Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter, one thing is for sure: the winds of change are afoot for one of the world’s largest social networks.

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