Elon Musk offered to purchase Twitter and make it a private business. He also wanted to correct the company’s declining commitment to free speech principles. This has been met with both praises and criticism. Many people who share Musk’s dissatisfaction with the platform—including Republicans and conservatives who think it discriminates against provocative right-wing speech—are eager to see Twitter in his hands. However, some supporters of established media fear that Musk’s strategy will lead to increased harassment and disinformation.
Twitter’s board gave every indication it was siding with traditional information gatekeepers and is willing to fight Musk’s bid. Last week, the company took a poison-pill approach. This well-known tactic is used by corporates to stop potential buyers. Twitter could flood the market offering additional shares if Musk’s share of the company reaches 15%. Twitter intends to reduce Musk’s stake to make it harder to reach 51 percent. Twitter can also be used to help you reach the threshold. It isMusk’s offer is ultimately considered by Musk, which gives the board time to review it as well as time to explore other possible buyers.
So we have an idea of what Twitter’s board wants. It wants power. Musk being made a member by the board of Twitter was most likely done so that he could control and silence him. He would also have an obligation to not publicly criticize the company as a boardmember, which would mean that he would no more be able tweet about the many ways Twitter needs to change.
Musk wants to know what exactly Twitter should change. During a TED interview last Wednesday, he offered some insights.
Musk stated, “I believe it’s important that there be an exclusive forum for free speech.” Musk said that Twitter is now the “de facto town square”, and that everyone should have the awareness and the perception of being able to freely express themselves within the laws. Twitter should open source its algorithm, make changes to tweets and notify anyone who has done so.
Musk later in the interview supported a feature people had requested, a Twitter Edit button. This would allow users to alter their tweets, after they have been sent. Facebook already has such a function so this must work in some manner. On Facebook, you will see a small note indicating that the post has been edited.
Musk spoke out about the possibility of removing advertisements for premium subscribers, and offering other perks to those who are willing to pay more.
This proposal is not necessarily a bad idea. Transparency would make a huge difference: Users need to understand why certain tweets are being punished or rewarded on the platform. The goal is to allow users to manage content moderation. Instead of Twitter deciding for users what it thinks they ought to see—what it thinks is dangerous, or true, or safe—the platform should give individuals more options to curate their Twitter experiences.
Musk may share these views. But many progressive critics think that Musk’s taking over the company is the worst thing that could happen. Literally.
Let’s take a look at these: SalonA writer says Elon Musk’s purchase could spell doom for free nations.
Trump’s return to Twitter by Elon Musk will spell doom for the Free World.
Trump’s Big Lie spreads like a virus.
— Matthew Rozsa (@MatthewRozsa) April 14, 2022
Axios writesMusk is now acting as a villainous supervillain and has entered “full-goblin mode”.
Jeff Jarvis, a City University of New York journalist, suggested that Musk’s purchase would be similar to Nazi Germany’s rise.
Normal fucking stuff pic.twitter.com/iTS5o9MTKJ
— Jesse Singal (@jessesingal) April 14, 2022
These people are desperately scared by the mere possibility that a wealthy person with somewhat different politics—and a somewhat more favorable disposition to unfiltered speech—is going to tweak their favorite toy.