The Elon Musk Twitter saga has been a gift that keeps on giving as far as tech stories are concerned. I feel like I could create three or more posts for his every move. After apparently accepting a seat at the Twitter board following his acquisition of about 9% TWTR shares the tech mogul has made a complete U-Turn and declined the offer.
He decided that instead, he wants to buy the whole thing; 100% of TWTR shares at $54.20 per share at a valuation total of about $45 billion.
Musk himself did not explain his decisions on Twitter (as he usually does). Rather he has simply posted the SEC document showing that he had secured funds for the imminent ‘hostile takeover.’
Explaining Musk’s decision not to join the board new CEO Parag Agrawal posted a tweet of a letter to his employees and the Twitter audience in general.
Note here that Parag doesn’t give a reason for the U-turn, he just states that “the board appointment was contingent on a background check as well as a formal acceptance by Musk.”
And I guess that the latter was the missing piece.
Musk himself has not commented on the move. Even his usual Twitter handle has been unusually quiet about his decision. All we got is a cheeky emoji indicating the emotion involved in the decision or perhaps a little bit more. Reports from SEC experts indicate may have used his antics to lower the price of TWTR shares as he aims to accumulate more of them.
Speaking about Musk perhaps it is important to flesh out his motives for what some see as an imminent hostile takeover.
What Elon Wants for Twitter
Musk’s actions have been motivated by his experience using the microblogging app. He is after all one of the most prominent personas on the app with more than 80 million followers. His use of the app though has been a little rocky, to say the least.
The tech mogul is very vocal on Twitter, posting everything from the plans he has for his multibillion-dollar empire, his view on various hot topics, to common jokes. He is very much a ‘tweep’. Only, he leads a multibillion-dollar empire.
And just like any ‘tweep’, sometimes he says some really crazy stuff. He for instance at one time tweeted that ‘funding secured for a $72 billion deal to take Tesla private. He however did not complete the move. This mistake cost him $20 million in civil fines and his seat as Tesla’s chairman.
More recently, however, Musk has been especially critical of Twitter saying many times that it has failed to adhere to free speech principles. This has been sponsored by the removal of former president Donald Trump from the platform. As a matter of fact, many ‘conservative’ accounts on Twitter are reported to have been banned or their contents removed with no explanation at all, so-called ‘shadow banning.’
Wherever you stand on the free speech debate one fact most people can agree on is that Twitter has been especially harsh on particular viewpoints choosing instead to support more ‘liberal’ viewpoints, especially within the US.
He has also questioned the direction the platform is heading citing that Twitter has in recent years lost some of its popularity. In one tweet Elon questioned why top accounts such as musicians Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift rarely post on Twitter.
So critical he has been that he once toyed with the idea of launching his own social media website to take on Twitter. But, as attempts such as Trump’s failed Truth Social has shown, this is easier said than done. Twitter is way too massive to take down.
The only solution would be to own Twitter itself. And that’s exactly what Elon is attempting to do. And, as now the richest man on the planet he is certainly more than capable of doing it. In fact, it would barely be an inconvenience.
So, what, if he pulled it off, would Musk’s Twitter look like?
Well, first we should expect an end to shadow banning. This is the principal reason he bought the platform in the first place. Musk sees Twitter as a sort of ‘town hall’ platform where anybody should be able to express her/his own views, no matter how toxic.
And yes, we should also expect former US President Donald Trump’s Twitter account to be reinstated.
We should also expect fewer ads. Musk is no fan of ads on social media and he has said as much on various posts. He prefers a subscription model, especially for users with a lot of followers or businesses that want to promote their products.
Oh, and he also wants to convert Twitter headquarters to a homeless shelter since workers do not use it anyway. This is due to Twitter’s famous full remote work policy.
Overall, wherever you stand on Musk’s Twitter debate, one thing for sure is that it is definitely going to be a different platform to what we have now.