How did it come to this?
Earlier this month, it was revealed that Musk had bought into Twitter. Then, the ball began to roll quickly: Barely ten days after learning that Tesla’s CEO was the largest shareholder, he made a bid for the platform.
The internet company reacted negatively by activating the so-called “toxic pill”. This allowed existing shareholders to purchase additional shares at a discount. The plan, which was unanimously approved by the board of directors, allowed the board of directors to approve a takeover offer.
On Thursday, Musk said he had secured $46.5 billion in funding, after which US media reported that Twitter viewed the show with less skepticism. Less than two weeks after its premiere, Mask got his hands on Twitter.
Why did the takeover come despite the opposition?
Musk has previously indicated that he also doubts the success of his takeover bid, but in recent days he has been holding meetings with Twitter shareholders to garner support for his bid. Several shareholders took to Twitter after Musk revealed his acquisition plans last week, stressing that the company should not miss the opportunity. In the end, Musk was able to secure unanimous approval from Twitter’s board of directors.
Why did Musk put his eye on Twitter?
The Tesla boss sees Twitter as a town square, where the free exchange of ideas should be key. And he said in a tweet this month that he sees limiting this as undermining democracy.
Musk, for example, believes that Twitter should undo the ban on former President Donald Trump. As far as it is concerned, people may be temporarily banned from the platform, but not forever, as happened to Trump and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.
Musk wants everything to be said on Twitter as long as it remains legal. This is complicated, as each country has its own legal restrictions on freedom of expression, but in keeping with Musk’s view that the role of government is as small as possible and that citizens enjoy as much freedom as possible.
What does this mean for the future of Twitter?
Musk wants Twitter to make more money in the first place. The number of users of the service lags behind competitors: Facebook has three billion users, Instagram about one and a half billion, TikTok about one billion, and Twitter remains at 436 million.
According to Musk, who has 82.6 million followers, Twitter needs an overhaul to “unlock” the “potential” of the network. But what exactly his plans are remains unclear. Musk hinted at an edit button, with which tweets sent could then be edited, and joked that he wanted to turn Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters into a homeless shelter.
Musk has also hinted that he wants to make the algorithm that determines which tweets are flagged and transparent. Technologists have serious doubts about the technical feasibility of the “open source” algorithm, but for Musk it fits with the openness he sees as a prerequisite for open debate, and with his view as the absolute of free speech.
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