Elon Musk is certainly living up to the eccentric billionaire persona, as the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX closes the deal with Twitter Inc. to buy the popular social networking platform for $44 billion.
Earlier in April, Elon Musk gained the largest percentage shareholder stake of Twitter. But the billionaire declined the offer given of having a seat on the board of directors. Instead, Musk made an offer to fully buyout the company. On Monday, April 25, 2022, the deal has reportedly been closed.
What does this mean for the future of Twitter and its millions of active users worldwide? Check out the details revealed so far.
A digital town square
Elon Musk presented these statements as part of filing with the Securities and Exchange Committee:
I invested in Twitter as I believe in its potential to be the platform for free speech around the globe, and I believe free speech is a societal imperative for a functioning democracy. However, since making my investment I now realize the company will neither thrive nor serve this societal imperative in its current form. Twitter needs to be transformed as a private company.
Musk, the world's wealthiest person, has said he thinks Twitter is not living up to its potential as a platform for free speech.
— The Associated Press (@AP) April 25, 2022
Following the news of closing the deal with Twitter’s board, Elon Musk stressed that this acquisition is mainly about freedom of speech and how the social network contributed to it:
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.
Meanwhile, Twitter’s independent board chair Bret Taylor released a statement regarding the resolution of Musk’s proposal:
The Twitter Board conducted a thoughtful and comprehensive process to assess Elon's proposal with a deliberate focus on value, certainty, and financing. The proposed transaction will deliver a substantial cash premium, and we believe it is the best path forward for Twitter's stockholders.
Elon Musk’s offer is for $54.20 per share price of Twitter, which comes to around $44 billion in total that shareholders will receive.
Enhancing the user experience
Long before Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk started on the road of acquiring Twitter Inc., he was already one of the most prominent and visible users of the platform. Musk has over 80 million followers on his official Twitter account.
On that note, Musk issued a statement regarding his vision on what Twitter can be in the future:
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 billionaire tech mogul has regularly posted anything from memes to cryptocurrency trends to personal and political point of views. At times, Musk’s tweets have been controversial, particularly during the COVID pandemic and the last U.S. presidential elections.
Twitter users react
Appropriately, the Twitter community has reacted to the news of the buyout. Twitter counts many key public figures such as celebrities, journalists, and politicians among its active user base. The news of Elon Musk’s buyout led to various reactions from these celebs, with equal numbers of positive and negative perspectives:
No matter who owns it, no matter who's on it, I'm staying to engage with you, listen to diverse opinions & to keep fighting the good fight!
(also, to keep posting the inane tweets I'm known for)#TwitterTenacity
Sir Michael Caine took one look around this joint and he is OUT pic.twitter.com/VlNkZLBCpq
— Mark Berman (@markberman) April 25, 2022
Elon Musk will surely make Twitter worse. But he's going to hate the daily grind of trying to run a social network, and he's going to hate the scrutiny that it'll bring to his own life. The real thing to watch for is who he might sell it to once he gets tired of having to run it.
— Palmer Report (@PalmerReport) April 25, 2022
Let me get this straight: Elon Musk can buy twitter for $44 million but he can’t afford to pay his fair share in taxes? RT if you agree it’s time to #TaxTheRich
— Phil Arballo (@PhilArballo) April 25, 2022
Elon Musk has finally set the blue bird free: pic.twitter.com/LXjzYCS2ZU
— Mikey (@MikeDulaimi) April 25, 2022
thoughts go out to people i know who are working for Twitter because, yikes
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 25, 2022
The American Dream attracted Elon Musk as a college student. American freedom allowed him to become the world’s richest man. And when America lost its way on free speech, he used his wealth to put it back on track. That’s a self-correcting mechanism! Only in America. 🇺🇸
— David Sacks (@DavidSacks) April 26, 2022
— George Hahn (@georgehahn) April 26, 2022
What would you like / hope #ElonMusk will do with Twitter?
I think anonymous accounts shouldn’t be allowed.
— Grace Randolph (@GraceRandolph) April 25, 2022
Even if Musk takes over, I urge people, especially resisters, to remain on Twitter for a very simple reason:
Facebook is an aggressive propaganda machine for the far right and the beliefs and ethics of Donald Trump.
We CANNOT concede Facebook and Twitter in this war.
— Don Winslow (@donwinslow) April 25, 2022
From my sources: Vocal Twitter employees on internal chats indicate their biggest fear is Donald Trump being unbanned. Many express strong hatred toward @elonmusk & say they’re sick of hearing about “free speech.” They’re concerned about their mental health. #ElonMuskBuyTwitter
— Andy Ngô 🏳️🌈 (@MrAndyNgo) April 25, 2022
Yes, Elon Musk bought Twitter.
More importantly, Donald Trump incited and directed a violent insurrection to overturn an American presidential election. And has never been held accountable.
Eyes on the big picture.
— Bryan Behar (@bryanbehar) April 25, 2022
And of course, Musk himself had something to say, directed at his critics:
I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter, because that is what free speech means
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 25, 2022
A new era for Twitter
Regardless of which side of the fence one has about Elon Musk and his buyout of Twitter, this is certainly a new era for the popular social media platform. It is certainly going to be one of the biggest tech transactions in recent history.
One key change is this would mark the end of Twitter as a public company. Elon Musk has stated he is taking the social networking service private. On the other hand, Musk’s broad plans look promising on the surface. What new technologies and initiatives could Musk implement in the future? Having a direct business interaction with Musk’s Starlink is a likely possibility.
Musk will also likely look at the verticals for Twitter, as the company has had difficulties with monetization, something its rivals Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok have had more success with. Plus, Musk had earlier posted suggestions for improvements, including a long-requested edit option for existing published tweets.
Current Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal, issued the following statement:
Twitter has a purpose and relevance that impacts the entire world. [I am] deeply proud of our teams and inspired by the work that has never been more important.
Twitter has a purpose and relevance that impacts the entire world. Deeply proud of our teams and inspired by the work that has never been more important. https://t.co/5iNTtJoEHf
— Parag Agrawal (@paraga) April 25, 2022
It is unclear if Agrawal will be retained in his current position. However, Twitter has had a history of a revolving door of CEOs, as Agrawal himself took over from Jack Dorsey in 2021.
Twitter stock (NYSE: TWTR) closed at $51.70 U.S., rising 5.66% following Elon Musk’s deal.