Elon Musk owes a lot of fame to his controversial tweets. His tweets have the power to move mountains. On many occasions, his tweets have influenced stock prices to jump or fall while others have made big headlines for being so provocative. However, he may become even more famous for acquiring Twitter itself. The past few months have been filled with headlines about whether Elon Musk will be successful in his bid to take over Twitter. Just when it seems certain that the deal has been made, we get another headline saying that all bets are off. Because of all the back and forth that we’ve already seen, it’s very hard to tell whether the deal will go through. In this article, we look at the ongoing struggle and speculate on what may happen if Musk’s acquisition of Twitter is successful.
Elon Musk has been on Twitter since 2009. Some argue that his mission to acquire Twitter started in 2017 when he randomly tweeted “I love Twitter”. Somebody commented on this post asking him if he was going to buy Twitter to which he responded in Musk fashion saying, “How much is it?” Because of the comment, the tweet of course went viral getting over 35,000 retweets. In the following years, Musk has been very vocal in his opposition to how Twitter is run. Being critical of how Twitter and other social media have increasingly moderated what people can post, Musk has come to fancy himself an advocate of free speech. This makes sense, given that he uses his voice on the platform to cause such huge shockwaves in the headlines. Some of his controversial tweets have even been the subject of lawsuits against him which may have further motivated him to take a strong free speech platform which would eventually motivate him to buy the company itself.
Beginning on January 31st of 2022, Musk began buying Twitter shares quietly and by March 14th, he owned a 5% stake in the company. On April 5th, Twitter announced that Musk would be joining the Twitter board as Musk became the company’s largest individual shareholder. Several days later, Musk publicly rejected Twitter’s offer to put him on the board. Even more online speculation ensued and on April 14th, Musk announced his intentions to buy the whole company. The very next day, Twitter launched a “poison pill strategy” which gives existing shareholders the ability to purchase additional stock at a discounted rate thus thwarting Musk’s attempted hostile takeover of Twitter. However, on April 21st Musk announced that he had gathered $46.5 billion to buy the company. Finally, on April 25th, Twitter agreed to sell itself to Musk for $44 billion. At this point, everyone thought the deal was done. But the struggle would soon continue.
A few weeks went by. Musk controversially stated that he intended to reinstate Trump’s Twitter account believing that Twitter’s ban on Trump was a mistake. But then 2 days later Musk announced that the Twitter deal was now on hold if Twitter could not prove that less than 5% of its users were fake bots. Musk may have been trying to use this tactic to acquire Twitter for a cheaper price while still remaining committed to acquiring Twitter. However, a few days later he announced that the deal would not move forward if Twitter would not disclose this information. Finally, on June 8th, Twitter agreed to grant Musk information including online activity that would verify how many of the users were bots. Although this suggests that the deal may go through after all, as of the writing of this article, it is still very unclear what will happen. Musk has thus far not indicated that he is satisfied with these reports.
The struggle for Twitter has spouted a lot of debate about what Elon Musk’s true intentions are. What will happen if Musk is successful? If Musk can make Twitter into a place where censorship is virtually done away with, we may see people leaving other social media platforms such as Meta and joining Twitter. However, we may also see a lot of people leaving Twitter, who dislike Musk. It will certainly be interesting to see whether Twitter gains or loses profiles if Musk gains full control of the platform. During this struggle, Musk stated that if he is successful in buying Twitter, he hopes that his friends and his enemies will remain on the platform and tweet whatever they want about him.
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