Back in the year 2017, Tesla and SpaceX owner Elon Musk had asked the worth of Twitter in response to a comment on his own tweet. Cut to today, and Elon Musk has successfully acquired Twitter for $44 billion and is taking the company private. He claims to have plans to make the platform better than it has ever been and encourage the idea of free speech even more.
Musk, an avid Twitter user, had recently become the biggest shareholder of Twitter by buying the majority of its shares. He turned down the opportunity to become a board member but later showed interest in buying out the platform. After Musk got involved with Twitter, its shares surged by almost 27%. It turned out to be the stock’s biggest intraday increase since 2013.
Musk has a sizeable following on Twitter, somewhere close to 83 million. He also happens to be a controversial figure on the platform. In the past he has been accused of mocking people who display their gender pronouns on their handles, make claims about the Covid-19 pandemic which some might call misleading, and sharing a (since deleted) morphed photo of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Twitter’s then new CEO Parag Agrawal to Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin, respectively. Leslie Miley, a former Twitter employee claims that when someone like Elon Musk refers to freedom of speech, he means the freedom of speech for the powerful and not for the less powerful. He also claims that when Elon Musk says he wants to encourage free speech on his platform, he only wants the ability to say what he wants without any accountability.
On Monday, Musk tweeted: “I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter, because that is what free speech means.”
Back in 2018, Twitter’s former CEO and cofounder, Jack Dorsey, acknowledged the issues of online abuse, trolling, harassment, misleading and divisive information as well as numerous bots being rampant on the platform. Since, he has been focussing on addressing these issues and making the platform safer for marginalised people, especially women, people from the LGBTQ communities, and people of colour.
However, people fear that Musk’s ownership might undo all of that hard work.
Source Credit: CNN Business