At least “I’m out” is only seven characters.
When it comes to social media platforms, Twitter is pretty much the Wild West, and even celebrities have to be sharpshooters to hold their own out there. However, that may change in the very near future, thanks to a $46.5 billion deal from one of the site’s most prominent users: These tweets about Elon Musk’s reported attempt to buy Twitter are... not enthusiastic, and honestly, it’s easy to see why.
As the world’s literal richest man with a net worth of nearly $265 billion, it’s clear Musk has a ton of coin to throw around. Musk and Twitter struck a $44 billion deal on Monday, April 25, to allow the billionaire to buy Twitter for $54.20 a share, a 38% markup, according to The New York Times. The deal comes after Twitter initially instituted a “poison pill” defense to prevent Musk from a takeover via stock shares, after Musk revealed he owned a 9% share in the company. Yeah, you read that right — Elon Musk is actually buying Twitter.
People all over the internet (especially people on Twitter) aren’t too happy about Musk’s deal with one of the internet’s most out-of-pocket platforms, especially as Musk has — despite his professed support of free speech — been criticized for his approaches to speech. “I invested in Twitter as I believe in its potential to be the platform for free speech around the globe, and I believe free speech is a societal imperative for a functioning democracy,” Musk wrote in a regulatory filing to acquire Twitter, per The New York Times. Still, as Bloomberg points out, Musk himself has allegedly attempted to suppress public criticism of his SpaceX and Tesla businesses, publicly trashed people he doesn’t like, and has reportedly even attempted to shut down a Twitter account tracking the movements of his private jet.
Now, many users worry Musk’s Twitter takeover won’t result in expanded “free speech.” Even before Musk’s purchase, the social media platform has been heavily criticized for allegedly allowing hate-speech to flourish, and some users are now concerned that Musk might exacerbate the situation — rolling back restrictions on hate speech or harassment, or allowing suspended accounts, like former President Donald Trump’s, back online. While the situation is pressing, it hasn’t stopped Twitter from dishing out some seriously hilarious memes, mostly aimed directly at the multi-billionaire’s throat.
However, it’s clear Musk’s Twitter buyout is motivated by more than just memes. Throughout his bid to buy the site, Musk has continually expressed his disapproval for Twitter’s current community guidelines, claiming that “failing to adhere to free speech principles fundamentally undermines democracy.” In short, Musk seems to believe the site’s moderators go too far in regulating the platform. “Since making my investment, I now realize the company will neither thrive nor serve this societal imperative in its current form,” he wrote in a regulatory filing, per The Times.
So while Twitter may be a great place to share cute dog photos, it’s also an important platform for politicians, business leaders, celebrities, and journalists to amplify their messages and take control of their own narratives — for better or worse. While it’s still unclear how dramatically the site will change amid this purchase, one thing is certain: Musk is holding the mic now.