Over the last few days, Elon Musk has been in a 'love-hate relationship' with Twitter.
Last week, the Tesla and SpaceX CEO was appearing to be a contributor as he asked people what needs to be changed on Twitter.
Do you want an edit button?— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 5, 2022
Few days later, he declined the offer to join Twitter’s board of directors after acquiring a 9.2% stake in the company.
And then, three days after constantly criticising the platform, the world’s richest man offered to buy Twitter outright for more than USD 43 billion, saying the social media platform “needs to be transformed as a private company".
Musk said he would pay USD 54.20 a share for Twitter.
Even though Twitter is one of the most influential social media platforms, it's much smaller in comparison with Facebook or Instagram following or YouTube’s revenue generation. So, what is the real reason behind Musk’s quest to buy Twitter?
‘FREE SPEECH AND TRANSPARENCY’
Elon Musk considers himself a “free speech absolutist'', and thinks that Twitter should be more transparent. "Twitter has become kind of the de-facto town square," Musk said in a statement. Musk said that Twitter should open-source its algorithms and minimise the interventions it takes in policing content.
“I believe free speech is a societal imperative for a functioning democracy,” Musk said in the filing. “I now realise the company will neither thrive nor serve this societal imperative in its current form," he said.
Like many other social media platforms, Twitter also suspends accounts for violating content standards, including hate speech, misinformation and violation of intellectual property rights.
Photo: Getty Images
CONTROLLING THE NARRATIVE
Twitter plays a crucial role in shaping the news and political agenda. It's a platform where journalists, intellectuals and other influential people often express their views.
Conservatives have, at times, accused Twitter of being biased against them. The suspension of Donald Trump’s account had angered the former US president’s followers.
The right-wingers see Musk as someone who would listen to their concerns.
Republican politicians in the US cheered Musk's attempt to buy Twitter, saying the billionaire will 'Make Twitter Great Again!'
Make Twitter Great Again!— Congressman Troy Nehls (@RepTroyNehls) April 14, 2022
'MAKE TWITTER PRIVATE AND UNLOCK ITS POTENTIAL'
As part of his takeover bid, Musk said he would need to take the publicly-traded company private “to go through the changes that need to be made.” Twitter has been a publicly-traded company since November 2013.
Photo: Getty Images
In his letter to Twitter, Musk had pointed out that he sees “extraordinary potential” in the company but he added that the platform’s current management is unable to unlock that potential.
Musk said he would tweak the service’s policing of content, and that he prefers temporary “timeouts” to permanently suspension of users.
One benefit of taking Twitter private would be that it would no longer need to report its quarterly financials to the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), reported Fortune.