Elon buys Twitter, Twitter reacts

What 

Following a very public and drama-filled bidding process, Twitter’s board of directors has accepted Elon Musk’s offer to buy the company for $44 billion 

Why 

Musk believes the only way to fix the issues that have been plaguing the publicly-listed social media giant is to take the company private 

What next 

Pending regulatory and shareholder approval of the deal, the sale is expected to be finalised later this year 

The story 

In 2017, Musk tweeted “I love Twitter.” Dave Smith, a podcast host, tweeted back, “You should buy it then,” to which Musk replied, “How much is it?” As it turns out, it is $44 billion. 

Following news of the acquisition yesterday, Musk tweeted a statement repeating his free-speech mantra, a standpoint he has often taken against Twitter’s policies of removing users and tweets that violate certain guidelines. 

“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,” the statement by Musk read. 

Twitter founder Jack Dorsey echoed Musk’s sentiments in a Twitter thread of his own. “Elon’s goal of creating a platform that is ‘maximally trusted and broadly inclusive’ is the right one. This is the right path…I believe it with all my heart,” he tweeted. “Twitter as a company has always been my sole issue and my biggest regret. It has been owned by Wall Street and the ad model. Taking it back from Wall Street is the correct first step.” 

As Kyle Chaika opined in The New Yorker, “Sometimes Twitter feels like the hot potato of the Internet, or perhaps more like a zone of nuclear radiation. No one wants to take too much responsibility for it.” This seems to be Musk’s and Dorsey’s reasoning for taking the company private and, in doing so, exercising more control over crucial decisions such as its policy on free speech. 

Dorsey explained that Twitter is more a protocol that “wants to be a public good” than a company, but Elon is the “singular solution” for the problem of it being a company. “I trust his mission to extend the light of consciousness,” Dorsey tweeted. 

Twitter being Twitter, the announcement was met with intense approval and backlash. 

According to Reuters, Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal told employees during a company meeting that Twitter’s future is uncertain. Employees also heard that Musk will join Twitter staff at a later date to field any questions. 

The world’s richest person’s tweets have in the past greatly influenced cryptocurrency markets, often leading to drops or spikes of 10% or more in the price of cryptocurrencies following his remarks, announcements or endorsements. So much so that it’s come to be known as the Elon effect. Through Tesla, Musk is also one of the largest Bitcoin whales, holding in the vicinity of 43,000 Bitcoins.

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