Elon Musk Completes $44 Billion Twitter Deal


Souvik Banerjee

Article Header Image by Souvik Banerjee published on https://unsplash.com/photos/9Z-2Ktg6CIM

Cihan Sahin, Contributor

Elon Musk completed his acquisition of Twitter last Thursday, closing in on a $44 billion deal after months of delays and nearly pulling out of the deal, risking losing $1 billion and almost being taken to court.

The finalization came after a series of complaints as Musk tried pulling out of the deal in July, claiming that Twitter had not been honest about the number of spam accounts on the platform. Twitter followed up with a lawsuit soon after, arguing that such reasoning was insufficient to walk away from the deal.

Musk debuted his ownership by thoroughly cleaning through headquarters, firing multiple Twitter executives on the same day. This act included policy head Vijaya Gadde, general counsel Sean Edgett, CFO Ned Segal, and even the CEO Parag Agrawal. He also confirmed this takeover, posting on the platform the same night that “the bird is freed.”

Musk also released a statement on Thursday morning, seemingly clarifying his intentions in acquiring Twitter and what he envisioned as the platform’s potential. He wrote that it was important for the “future of civilization to have a common digital town square, where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner, without resorting to violence.” Undoubtedly, Twitter would be the placeholder for this digital town square. He also denied pursuing ownership for financial gain or because it would be easy, but simply to help humanity.

However, it seems to need clarification on what significant changes the new owner of Twitter has in mind. Musk has always strongly voiced his disagreement with the previous regulations of speech on the platform, so it is possible that we may see some changes in the moderation of content and more liberated discourse from all views of the political aisle. Musk confirmed this with a short statement today that Twitter would be forming a new “content moderation council with widely diverse viewpoints,” though that may seem somewhat vague to most users.

Another expected possible change would be the reversal of Donald Trump’s ban on Twitter. In fact, Musk personally stated in May that if the deal were to go through, he would allow the former president to return to the platform, claiming that permanently banning Trump was morally incorrect, as it only led to the creation of more extreme echo chambers on both wings. Interestingly, Trump has responded that he would be staying on his own platform Truth Social, but did voice his approval to Musk, saying “I like Elon, but I’m staying on Truth.”

This news has been met with mixed reactions from the public. On one hand, many Republicans have been celebrating Musk’s new acquisition, arguing that Twitter for a long time had been censoring their viewpoints, allegedly incorrectly labeling it disinformation, and acknowledging the return of free speech. Others have been absolutely outraged by the news, complaining that Twitter falling into Musk’s grasp has given the billionaire too much influence, threatening democracy, therefore choosing to leave the platform and never return.