Elon Musk buys Twitter for R690bn

By Kyle Venktess for IOL

In one of the most controversial social network acquisitions, billionaire-businessman Elon Musk took sole ownership of Twitter on Monday night – meaning the platform could soon see changes.

This brings control of one of the most influential platforms, used by hundreds of millions, to one person – the world’s richest person.

Musk, who purchased Twitter for $44 billion (R690bn), just 16.7% of his net worth, has over the months prior to the acquisition described user-friendly tweaks to the service. These include an edit button and defeating “spam bots” that send overwhelming amounts of unwanted tweets. However, there is a lot more that users can expect.

The transaction comes on the tail-end of a barrage of tweets relating to changes Musk suggested for the platform.

Even though Musk has been tweeting of what he would like to see, Reuters reported Twitter Inc chief executive Parag Agrawal telling employees on Monday at a townhall-like meeting shortly after the announcement that the future of the social media firm is uncertain. However, he allayed fears that there would be any layoffs.

While seemingly positive changes are expected to brace the platform, one of the critical highlights came from Musk’s reaffirmation of prioritising free speech on Twitter.

Will this mean that former US president Donald Trump, banned for life from the platform, will return? Well, even if Musk gave him the green light, Trump reportedly said he would not return.

Musk has been often outspoken in criticising the platform for its moderation. In a tweet shortly after the buyout, Musk said: “I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter because that is what free speech means.”

Shortly after that, Musk posted a statement reading: “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.”.

He also said: “I also want to make Twitter better than ever by enhancing the product with new features, making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating the spam bots, and authenticating all humans.”

Musk previously touted the idea of an open-source algorithm to better service free speech on Twitter, meaning the platform could see changes to users’ content feed and moderation of tweets, among others, in the near future.

However, opening source coding is just one of the suggested changes previously made by Musk.

IOL Wealth previously reported Musk’s tweets, suggesting ideas to transform the platform. Among the changes, Musk also toyed with the idea of offering users a premium, subscription-based version on the social network, accompanied by a blue tick.

This means users may soon be able to buy their verification on the social network, effectively making the platform one of the only major social networks to do so.

“Everyone who signs up for Twitter Blue (i.e. pays $3/month) should get an authentication checkmark,” Musk previously said in a now-deleted tweet.

Musk followed up the tweet with a post in which he suggested a monthly fee estimated at $2 per month, just over R31 at the time of publishing.

On Monday night, Musk took ownership of the social network ending Twitter’s run as a publicly-listed company since its IPO in 2013. The transaction resulted in a 6% share increase following the news.

Earlier this month, Musk became a major Twitter shareholder acquiring more than 9% of the social network’s shares.

 

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