The Frenzy Over Elon Musk's $44 Billion Twitter Buyout


It's been a roller coaster of a week in social media and mainstream media alike, with Elon Musk's Twitter acquisition provoking a dizzying number of reactions. For his part, Musk hasn't said too much about his plans to tamp down censorship and promote free speech on what he has characterized as the town hall of social media.

The latest revelations in Musk's $44 billion buyout of Twitter show he told his financiers that he would crack down on executive and board pay at the company to cut costs while also developing new ways to monetize tweets. Musk also floated the idea of charging a fee when a third-party website wishes to quote or embed a tweet.

Other proposed plans tweeted by Musk earlier this month, and subsequently deleted, include making changes to Twitter's Blue premium subscription service like an option to pay using the dogecoin cryptocurrency. Musk also said he has a new chief executive in mind for the company, although he has not named the person. It is assumed that current chief Parag Agrawal will remain in the role until the sale to Musk is completed later this year.

But the actual details of Musk's Twitter buyout aren't what's fueling the media frenzy that has ensued. It's speculation over the changes he may bring to the social media platform that has caused outrage and account deletions from a flurry of politically left-leaning users and pundits. The Obamas, Katy Perry, Taylor Swift and Jeremy Corbyn have all lost followers as a result of the "progressive" defection from Twitter. Meanwhile the far right has tried to adopt Musk as their poster boy and a savior of free speech. Marjorie-Taylor Greene, Ted Cruz and Boris Johnson all enjoyed significant gains in followers after Musk's news.      

Musk claims he is a registered independent and is politically moderate, having donated to both the Democrat and Republican parties. He has said he believes Twitter must be politically neutral and that he has no wish to politicize the platform. Twitter users certainly don't need his help to do that.

“For Twitter to deserve public trust it must be politically neutral, which effectively means upsetting the far right and the far left equally,” Musk tweeted this week. He has also reinforced his plans to promote free speech on the platform, commenting that he is “against censorship that goes far beyond the law.”

Whether Twitter will change significantly under Musk’s leadership remains to be seen. With his interest in cryptocurrency, perhaps he’ll incorporate blockchain to democratize the platform and add a layer of accountability and verification. More likely, things will remain status quo and Twitter will continue to provide a mouthpiece for Musk and others to blow their own horns. It has certainly served him well so far.

Edited by Maurice Nagle
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TechZone360 Contributing Editor

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