ELON MUSK’S OWNERSHIP OF TWITTER GETS UGLY
By: Jason Li
After nearly a year of waiting, Elon Musk, the world’s richest man, has finally agreed to buy Twitter for a hefty 44 billion dollars.
“There could be real-world consequences to his leadership,” said David Kaye, a law professor at University of California, Irvine.
Well, Twitter is losing 4 million dollars per day, partly because advertisers have been driven off the platform by the 51-year-old’s sometimes questionable tweets and decisions.
To compensate for that giant deficit, Twitter has laid off 50% of Twitter employees, dissolved the board of directors, and fired top executives, such as Twitter’s former CEO Parag Agrawal, and former Twitter CFO Ned Segal. It has also removed that official account label, instead replacing it with a new program that allows people to buy verified checkmarks for 8 dollars a month.
This change, although only implemented recently, has already caused some mayhem. Twitter accounts with check marks that posed as companies like Eli Lilly, PepsiCo, and even Musk’s own company, Tesla sent spoof messages that hurt the companies' reputation that were target of the parody accounts.
According to the New York Times, “One impostor account with a check mark masqueraded as Eli Lilly, tweeting on Thursday that the pharmaceutical company would provide free insulin to its customers. Eli Lilly’s stock tumbled more than 5 percent in morning trading on Friday and was still down more than 4 percent at the close.”
Musk, a self-described “free speech absolutist,” has made clear that he would make the social media platform a free speech haven with very little to no content moderation, and would reinstate Donald Trump’s Twitter account, who was infamously banned for life, which is also one of the reasons advertisers have been pulling away from Twitter.
Twitter’s website states, “Defending and respecting the user’s voice is one of our core values at Twitter. This value is a two-part commitment to freedom of expression and privacy.”
Because of the aforementioned changes to the platform, many left-leaning users have left the platform, leading to many progressive influential figures losing thousands of followers.
However, many conservative voices have applauded these controversial moves. “Elon Musk has indicated he will oppose Big Tech censorship and support free speech,” Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn stated in a tweet. “That’s something all freedom-loving people can get behind.”