Elon Musk's Twitter takeover: 4 ways billionaire could change social media site
Elon Musk is set to buy Twitter for $44 billion, a deal that he struck on Monday, April 25. The firm, which is publicly traded, will now become a private company owned by the world's richest man. Musk reportedly negotiated a purchase price of $54.20 per share.
"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 has said in a statement released by Twitter. "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 spam bots and authenticating all humans. Twitter has tremendous potential - I look forward to working with the company and the community of users to unlock it."
The transaction, unanimously approved by the Twitter Board of Directors, is expected to close in 2022. As per an official statement, the platform, with the agreement, is set to " be acquired by an entity wholly owned by Elon Musk, for $54.20 per share."
A day after Musk had revealed his purchase intentions, the platform adopted a limited duration shareholder rights plan, or the poison pill -- defense moves that are generally used to avoid hostile takeovers. The Rights Plan "will reduce the likelihood that any entity, person or group gains control of Twitter through open market accumulation without paying all shareholders an appropriate control premium or without providing the Board sufficient time to make informed judgments and take actions that are in the best interests of shareholders," a statement said at that time.
Musk, who is known for his business ambitions, had begun with what is called the dream to colonize space. Ahead of the deal reveal, he had written on Twitter, "I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter, because that is what free speech means."
I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter, because that is what free speech means— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 25, 2022
After rejecting an invitation to join the company's board on April 14 he's now offered to take Twitter private, here are some of the hints he's dropped about the changes he'd make as owner.
1) Changes in algorithm
Musk has been a steadfast proponent of ‘free speech’ on Twitter. One of the most prolific users of Twitter with more than 83 million followers, he began amassing a stake of about 9% and had ramped up his criticism of the microblogging platform by March, alleging that the company's algorithms are biased. "I'm worried about de facto bias in 'the Twitter algorithm' having a major effect on public discourse," Musk had said to one follower. "How do we know what's really happening?" With the takeover, algorithm changes are one thing we could expect.
2) Spam bots begone
Musk had alleged that Twitter's growth was inflated by bots. He also said that the platform's feeds are overwhelmed with automated junk posts. For instance, Musk had previously said he wants to get rid of "crypto spam bots", which are spam accounts that promote crypto-based scams. He had called the spam issue the "single most annoying problem".
3) The 'Edit' button
The Tesla co-founder had earlier opened up about an ‘Edit Button’ on the platform, and went on to hold a poll, deliberately misspelling yes and no, possibly to bring to the users' attention that the button is needed as people often make typographical errors while tweeting. Twitter has reportedly now confirmed the Edit button will be introduced.
Do you want an edit button?— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 5, 2022
4) Content moderation
Musk has referred to Twitter as the "de facto public town square" of the modern era at various times. He is also known for having criticized the platform's decision to permanently ban former president Donald Trump from the site after the insurrection at the US Capitol building on January 6, 2021. Many believe that he could re-instate Trump's Twitter account. In the previous weeks at his satellite internet startup, Starlink, he refused requests "by some governments (not Ukraine)" to block news broadcasts from Russia.
"We will not do so unless at gunpoint," he said. "Sorry to be a free speech absolutist."