Elon Musk acquires Twitter for roughly $44 billion
Douglas MacMillan, Faiz Siddiqu, Rachel Lerman, and Taylor Telford reported today in The Washington Post:
Elon Musk acquired Twitter for $44 billion on Monday, the company announced, giving the world’s richest person command of a highly influential social media site that serves as a platform for political leaders, a sounding board for experts across industries and an information hub for millions of everyday users.
The acquisition followed weeks of evangelizing on the necessity of “free speech,” as the Tesla CEO seized on Twitter’s role as the “de facto town square” and took umbrage with content moderation efforts he views as an escalation toward censorship. He said he sees Twitter as essential to the functioning of democracy and said the economics are not a concern.
There have been only a handful of world’s richest people in my lifetime. Of those, Elon Musk is my least favorite. While he has done some good for the world, I find his public persona exhausting. He acts like a juvenile troll who plays to the cheap seats. His credibility in geek circles as a real-life Tony Stark is almost completely unearned. He just seems irresponsible, childish, and awkward to me—the ultimate dog that caught the car.
Last week, I thought that Musk’s hostile takeover offer was mere trolling, or maybe a means to drive a pump-and-dump scam on the sizable share of Twitter stock that he recently purchased. Now that he and his backers have bought the company proves me wrong, at least in the short term. Still, I have no faith in him making Twitter more successful than it is now. It is a company that I think found its level and is destined to stay there. I think that Twitter’s board decided the company’s value would never—at least, within a reasonable timeframe—appreciate to the 20% over its stock price that Musk offered. In that position, I would have taken the buy-out, too.
I can’t even remember when I last logged into my Twitter account now, so the change in ownership will not directly affect me, but it will likely indirectly affect all of us in some way. Musk’s championing of “free speech” and openness on the platform sound like right-wing dog whistles to me, which makes me nervous (more nervous) about the future. In general, the best thing we can do collectively is leave Twitter and publish and correspond elsewhere—preferably on platforms that are not owned by amoral billionaires.