One of the world’s richest people, Elon Musk, bought Twitter on Monday. I repeat – Elon Musk bought Twitter. Now, for people that don’t really use Twitter, this news doesn’t seem important. For people that are – this news is huge.
Twitter has always been a global water cooler, all the discussion is held right there. And not only random discussion – but discussions on the world-leader level.
How exactly did Musk manage to strike a deal and what does all this mean for the future of the platform? Let’s go through the details.
How Did Elon Musk Buy Twitter?
Known for Tesla, SpaceX, The Boring Company and Neuralink, Elon Musk has struck a deal with Twitter to buy the platform for a whopping $44 billion US!
He’s allegedly financing his buy through loans, cash, and Tesla shares. That would be $13 billion in bank loans, $12 billion in loans against his stock in Tesla and says will add another $21 billion in cash.
The deal is not to set close for another three to six months, but if the deal falls apart – one of the sides involved will have to pay a billion-dollar fee.
However, if the deal is not fully closed by October 24, both sides can simply walk away. But, how simple (and painless) would the walkaway be if Tesla shares get an even bigger hit than they did the moment the buy was announced? It had more than $125 billion wiped off its value and the shares dropped from $1 trillion to $906 billion!
Why Did Elon Musk Buy Twitter?
His decision to buy the platform came after he complained about how the social media network isn’t doing enough for free speech. He then bought 9.2 percent of Twitter, which made him Twitter’s largest shareholder but declined to be on its board.
Free speech is essential to a functioning democracy.
Do you believe Twitter rigorously adheres to this principle?
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 25, 2022
Why Is Elon Musk Buying Twitter Important News?
Twitter has been the main place of online discussion for a while now and its massive influence on forming public opinion is undeniable. Even though it has fewer users than Facebook, there are far more powerful people on Twitter than on other social media platforms.
And that’s exactly why content moderation on Twitter is so important. Since we can’t see into the future, we can only assume what would happen to the platform after the deal is sealed. According to his recent statements, Musk’s priority is making Twitter more casual and relaxing the content moderation – he’s focused on free speech.
By “free speech”, I simply mean that which matches the law.
I am against censorship that goes far beyond the law.
If people want less free speech, they will ask government to pass laws to that effect.
Therefore, going beyond the law is contrary to the will of the people.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 26, 2022
But – the definition of free speech can be different among people, making this transition quite debatable. There is a thin line between free and hate speech. That exact line is making his wish to lower content moderation dangerous – not only for Twitter’s most vulnerable users but for forming international dialogues and its effect on world events and public opinions, too.
What makes the whole thing even more interesting is the fact that this deal was struck at the same time as lawmakers around the world are proposing tougher content moderation on social media platforms.
It will be interesting to see how this story unfolds and to find out if Twitter going private will change the Internet we all know and love.