By Dina Abrahim
On April 4, 2022, Elon Musk, the billionaire entrepreneur, continued his empire’s growth with a $44 billion acquisition of Twitter . Musk is the wealthiest person in the world with a net worth of 255.2 billion and is the founder, CEO, and Chief Engineer at SpaceX, angel investor, CEO, and Product Architect of Tesla, founder of The Boring Company, co-founder of Neuralink and OpenAI, and is now the owner of Twitter.
With over 91.8 million followers and over 17.7 thousand tweets, Musk is extremely active on Twitter. He has not been silent with his criticisms of Twitter in the past, and has condemned Twitter’s permanent ban of former President Donald Trump. Trump was banned from Twitter due to the risk of further instigation of violence following the attack on the Capitol Building on January 6, 2021. Musk considers the banning of Trump to be an attack on free speech and believes that the company should not have censored a sitting president. Musk has said that once the deal to buy Twitter goes through, he plans to allow Trump to return to Twitter. Another change Musk plans to make is banning Twitter’s spam bots. In a tweet Musk declared, “If our twitter bid succeeds, we will defeat the spam bots or die trying!” He has also questioned the relevance of Twitter today, saying in a tweet, “Most of these ‘top’ accounts tweet rarely and post very little content. Is Twitter dying?”
Musk claims that one of the main reasons he bought Twitter is to protect free speech. In a statement he said, “Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated. Twitter has tremendous potential-I look forward to working with the company and the community of users to unlock it.”
Musk plans to focus on four key areas: “hardcore software engineering, design, infosec (information security), and server hardware.” Another way he plans to improve Twitter is by making managerial changes. In a threaded tweet he said, “I strongly believe that all managers in a technical area must be technically excellent. Managers in software must write great software or it’s like being a cavalry captain who can’t ride a horse!” In addition, Musk intends to take over as Twitter’s interim CEO.
Many people, especially those with left-leaning political stances, oppose Elon Musk buying Twitter because they believe he may plan to make changes to the platform that they disagree with. They are afraid that his “more lenient” policy on free speech will allow for the spread of more misinformation on Twitter, which they believe is proliferated by far-right groups. Elizabeth Warren said in a tweet, “One billionaire-whose estimated net worth has gotten about 10 times larger since the start of the pandemic-is about to have the power to decide how millions of people can communicate with each other. It’s dangerous for our democracy to have so much power in so few hands.” Musk also plans to verify that all users on Twitter are human, as opposed to spambots, which some are viewing as a possible invasion of privacy. While answers vary, researchers say that 10% of Twitter accounts are fake, while Twitter says that only 5% of accounts are fake.