Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla
Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk has been headstrong about acquiring Twitter ever since he criticized the company for obstructing free speech and acquired the largest stake in the company.
Elon Musk acquired a 9.2 percent stake in Twitter and was to become a member of the company’s board before he declined. Both Twitter and Elon Musk failed to give a specific reason why the billionaire failed to join the company’s board as planned. Days later, the billionaire announced his intentions to buy Twitter for $54.20 per share which would be buying the company at a sum total amount of $43 billion and transforming it into a privately owned company.
While speaking at the TED2022 conference, Elon Musk was asked by TED head speaker Chris Anderson why he offered to buy the micro-blogging platform. In his defense, Elon Musk said that “I think it’s very important for there to be an inclusive arena for free speech. Twitter has become kind of a de facto town square, so it’s really important that people have both the reality and the perception that they are able to speak freely within the bounds of the law.”
Thus, the billionaire went back to his criticism of the platform. Chris Anderson during the talk pointed out that Elon Musk was a “free speech absolutist”, and that he believes that people’s right to free speech shouldn’t be infringed upon whether what they say is liked or not.
Of course, Twitter rules do not actually limit people from speaking freely. The platform is only against hate speech, bullying, and targeted harassment as well as misinformation about ongoing issues such as the coronavirus pandemic. It is, therefore, quite unclear what Elon Musk is out to change. He, however, said he wants the platform to match US laws and claims that this is what other platforms such as Parler and Donald Trump-owned Truth Social are operating on. He also mentioned that while it was ok to suspend people for temporary periods, it wasn’t ok to ban people from social media platforms.
Elon Musk also spoke about other plans he had for Twitter. He said that he wants the platform’s code and its algorithm to be available on GitHub. This will go in line with a recent call for increased transparency around social media algorithms. He also mentioned that a top priority is to reduce spam on Twitter. “The top priority I would have is eliminating the spam and scam bots and the bot armies that are on Twitter. They’re making the product much worse.”
He also talked about the edit button which he has been hammering on recently. He suggested that the feature should only be available for a short time after a tweet has been made adding that when a tweet is posted it could lose already accumulated likes and retweets making it serve as a new tweet entirely, basically the same as just deleting a tweet and tweeting something new.
It is not clear if Twitter will accept the deal or if it is already preparing to but when asked if he has an alternative plan should the plan to acquire Twitter fail, Elon Musk responded in the affirmative.