The saga over, over, over, over, of tech billionaire Elon Musk’s planned takeover of Twitter has finally come to an end. Having signed the deal valued at up to $44 billion, Musk wasted no time in putting his unique stamp on the social media giant – firing several of Twitter’s top executives.
CEO Parag Agrawal, CFO Ned Segal, Chief Policy Officer Vijaya Gadde and General Counsel Sean Edgett are among the victims, with Bloomberg (opens in new tab) reporting Edgett particularly was escorted from Twitter’s headquarters. That detail, if accurate, would suggest that Musk is still worried about the legal consequences of his initial backtracking on plans to buy Twitter earlier this year.
But what does this change mean for Twitter users? Well, maybe enough. An outspoken libertarian, it has long been assumed that Musk would take over Twitter would see content moderation on the platform change dramatically, with the man himself practically confirming this. And other elements of Musk’s ambitions for the future of Twitter hint at even bigger plans for how the user experience on Twitter will change in the coming months.
The wild ride so far
Musk’s initial step on the journey to officially acquire Twitter began before he even made a deal for the platform. Musk slowly started buying shares on Twitter in early 2022 to become the major shareholder in the social media company in early April. Later that month, the first signs of the $44 billion deal appeared.
Half a month later, in mid-May, the deal between Musk and Twitter came to an abrupt halt. Musk suggested that his discovery that Twitter allegedly contained more fake accounts and bots than he was led to believe was the impetus for his sudden change of heart.
Twitter was not satisfied, however, filing a lawsuit in hopes of keeping Musk on his side of the planned deal.
Legal proceedings soon began, but did not advance much before achieving the desired result. Earlier this month, Musk finally agreed to proceed with the deal, under conditions that all legal proceedings would be promptly stopped.
Subsequent signs of the takeover approaching its long-awaited endpoint came to a head just yesterday (October 27), with Musk tweeting images of himself walking through Twitter doors holding… a sink.
Entering Twitter HQ – let it happen! pic.twitter.com/D68z4K2wq7October 26, 2022
Everything besides the kitchen sink
If Musk himself is to be believed, the (reluctant) acquisition of Twitter is something he sees as a philanthropic endeavor. In a statement posted to his Twitter account, the tech giant also offered suggestions on what kinds of changes he might have in mind for the social media platform now that he’s behind the wheel.
“The reason I acquired Twitter is because it’s important for the future of civilization to have a digital common square where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy way, without resorting to violence,” he said. Musk wrote (opens in new tab). “Currently, there is a great danger that social media will fragment into far-right and far-left echo chambers that generate more hatred and divide our society.”
“That’s why I bought Twitter. I didn’t do it because it would be easy. I didn’t do it to make more money. I did this to try to help humanity, whom I love.”
Typical of a longtime entrepreneur like Musk, Twitter’s new owner has also signaled plans to rework advertising processes with the platform. In a bold statement, Musk hinted at his aspirations for Twitter to become “the most respected advertising platform in the world.”
“Low relevance ads are spam,” Musk wrote. “But highly relevant ads are content!”
In a personal text message released during the discovery process of the legal proceedings between Musk and Twitter, Musk’s prominent friend and popular podcaster Joe Rogan asked Tesla founder, “Are you going to free Twitter from the censorship of the happy crowd?”
Musk does plan to ‘free up’ Twitter, but perhaps not in a way that would improve the experience for the majority of its users. More ads, less moderation seems to be the desired game plan for Twitter under Elon Musk, and with previous leaders already out, that game plan is likely to go into effect sooner rather than later.