Elon Musk’s Twitter Takeover


Art by Julissa Solorzano

Elon Musk’s face on the Twitter logo. Elon Musk purchased Twitter for $43 billon on Monday, April 25, and plans to remove many censorship policies from the platform. “I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter, because that is what free speech means,” reads a social media post on Elon Musk’s Twitter page.

Owen Willis, Social Media Manager

Elon Musk is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Tesla Motors and SpaceX, is also an investor and entrepreneur, and is the owner of Dogecoin, as well as other forms of cryptocurrency. For a while, Musk owned 9.2% of the stock for Twitter, but on April 14, 2022, Elon Musk offered to buy Twitter for $43 billion, equating to $53 per share with hopes to inhabit it as a private company to remove the censorship policies that the company currently has in place, relating to the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. His bid was accepted on Monday, April 25, 2022.

Twitter was invented in March of 2006 under the command of Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey in San Francisco, California, and released to the public in July of 2006. With its release came strict regulations on fake news and false information, and the company has kept up with enforcing its policy and has been controlling the information that users of the service are able to view and access. The most notable case of this is the suspension of Former President Donald Trump after several of his posts encouraged his fans to attack the Capitol Building, as well as indicate false information regarding the Coronavirus pandemic. Now that Elon Musk has purchased the company, he hopes that he is able to make it a free speech platform and remove the censorship policies that are currently in place.

However, this isn’t just an ordinary situation. Elon Musk’s bid to buy out Twitter came as a “hostile takeover,” after he declined a spot on the Board of Directors. In response to Musk’s offer to purchase all of the stock in the company, Twitter implemented what is called a “poison pill,” which is, “the mechanism, known as a poison pill, has a simple intention: to make it less palatable for a potential buyer to pursue the target company if the buyer accumulates shares above a certain threshold,” explains an article released by the New York Times. “In Twitter’s case, if Mr. Musk bought more than 15 percent of the company, Twitter would flood the market with new stock that all shareholders except Mr. Musk could buy at a discounted price,” it continued.

While many are surprised at Elon Musk’s offer to purchase Twitter, this isn’t the first time that he has done something like this to take over a company. In fact, he used the same tactic to take over Tesla Motors, when he paid off all of the shares in the company for over $30 million, according to an article on britannica.com. Musk taking over Tesla has introduced many new models of electric vehicles and has led the industry in vehicle safety and autonomous driving.

“Elon Musk says his hostile takeover bid for Twitter is all about free speech. The Tesla chief executive has tweeted multiple polls to his roughly 80 million Twitter followers on the topic, and he said at a conference this week that he believes the social media company is a town square that can promote global peace, as long as there is limited policing,” says an article by The Washington Post.

“The reputation Musk has built for himself, in part through the trolling he engages in on Twitter, is emerging as a liability among the social media company’s employees. Twitter is known for its liberal workforce and flexible work environment,” reads an article from The Washington Post. “Musk, on the other hand, has appeared to mock gender pronouns, has peddled coronavirus misinformation, and his company Tesla has been the target of multiple lawsuits for alleged racial discrimination and sexual harassment” it adds.

Another concern with Elon Musk taking over Twitter is the removal of most of the censorship on the site. “During a TED Talk Thursday in Vancouver, Musk said he would err on the side of free speech. “I do think that we want to be just very reluctant to delete things and … just be very cautious with permanent bans,” he said, adding that he would prefer timeouts,” explains an article by The Washington Post. Many school districts throughout the country, including St. Vrain Valley Schools, use Twitter as a professional networking site to connect with community members and share the great things happening across the district. However, with the removal of certain policies, Twitter may become less professional and could be frequented by online scammers and trollers.

With the removal of censorship and the potential for a toxic workplace being major concerns of Musk’s takeover, there are some benefits that come with it. One benefit is that he is able to help to improve the user experience and relativity of the posts recommended to each user by updating the algorithms used by the site.  In addition to improving the algorithms, one of Musk’s major goals is to ensure users are being given their rights stated by the First Amendment relating to freedom of speech.