Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and the richest man on Earth bought Twitter for 44.2 million dollars. Musk plans to make the public social media company private. He also said that he wants Twitter to adhere more closely to the principles of free speech. He describes twitter as, “digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are in debate”. This article will take you through four reason why Elon Musk bought Twitter.
A running joke among Twitter employees is that being on the platform is like playing a massive online multiplayer game. A game in which the protagonist changes every day, implying that someone is being criticized, harassed, or otherwise thrust into the spotlight. You just have one goal, according to the joke, and that is to never become that major character.
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Musk and his controversies
Vernon Un Sworth, a British diver who’d spent days supporting the rescue of Thai youngsters trapped in a flooded cave, was the main character on Twitter one day in 2018. After billionaire Elon Musk offered him a tiny submarine, diver informed the reporters that Musk’s plan was a waste of time. Musk then moved to Twitter. He falsely accused the individual of being a “pedo person,” or pedophile, in posts that he later deleted. Hundreds of Musk followers responded to the diver’s tweets with rude and humiliating insults. Musk later apologized in court for the comments, stating he didn’t mean them literally.
The drama exemplified dogpiling, a behaviour in which strong Twitter users incite armies of followers to harass others. Employees at Twitter have been striving to curb dogpiling and other forms of abuse for years, with mixed results.
After the board accepted a $44 billion bid from the world’s richest man, the Twitter employees realized on that Musk, the architect of the “pedo guy” saga and many others over the years, could be their new boss.
Elon Musk’s apparent reasons for purchasing Twitter are as follows:
1. Increased public awareness and freedom of expression
Twitter’s ability to set the agenda appears to fascinate Musk. This makes his control of the network so potentially disruptive.
Musk’s purchase of Twitter comes at a time when a number of societal debates are raging. Issues like the power and influence of billionaires, the impact of misinformation, and the responsibilities that tech platforms owe to their users and society, as well as what new regulations should be in place to support them are spreading like fire.
Musk will be in charge of the most valuable automobile firm in the United States, as well as a leading private aerospace company, valued at more than $5 billion, a brain-chip startup, and a social network with hundreds of millions of subscribers.
Not only can Musk utilise his control over Twitter to ensure that the site allows him to tweet as he pleases, but the acquisition also provides him newfound leverage.
Only a millionaire can gain political clout, which could benefit some of his other firms.
2. Creating an open platform with no restrictions
The CEO of Tesla and SpaceX talked in grandiose language familiar to anyone who follows his comments about colonizing Mars or building EVS in a statement. He announced that Twitter has agreed to let him buy the social network. He stated, “Free expression is the foundation of a healthy democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where important issues affecting humanity’s future are argued”. However, many activists pushing for democratic spaces on the internet have questioned whether Musk’s ownership of Twitter would stifle democracy rather than strengthen it.
Musk’s influential account, which has over 85 million followers, has sparked many controversies in the past. It has been used to attack opponents and share memes and to make “false and misleading public assertions”. That raised Tesla’s stock price and damaged investors, according to regulators.
At the very least, the Musk acquisition would erode user confidence in Twitter’s anti-abuse efforts. At the worst, it may lead to the deprioritization or abandonment of work.
Researchers have discovered that sites that prioritize free speech over all else tend to become settings where civic dialogue drowns out by abuse.
3. Establishing democracy
Musk’s mission is to safeguard democracy. The idea of introducing more free speech to the platform reveals his naiveté when it comes to nuts and bolts. Many platforms have been built on the premise of free speech. The truth is it becomes a cesspool people don’t want to use, or they realize that some moderation is required.
4. Increasing Twitter’s transparency
Along with vague promises to offer an edit button and eliminate spam, Musk’s most significant demand has been for Twitter to be more open about its algorithm’s decision-making by 2021. However, when it comes to researching and publicising the results of its own problems, Twitter is already among the most transparent of any social networks.
Musk has a history of abusing his power. He has called a courageous cave diver a “pedo person” and crudely ridiculed a Senator’s Twitter photo. His tweets landed him in hot water with the Securities and Exchange Commission. It filed a lawsuit against him in 2018 for deceiving investors. But other people’s feelings does not concern Musk. His brother Kimbal put it: “He is a business genius, but his gift is not empathy with people.”
What counts, however, is that Elon Musk bought Twitter and what a billionaire like him wants with his $44 billion platform, not whether he is a nice guy.
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