Elon Musk buys Twitter for $44 billion


Will Glarner '22

Last week, the richest man in the world, Elon Musk, purchased Twitter for roughly $44 billion officially placing him in control of one of the most influential social networks in the world. The deal will result in every shareholder receiving $54.20 in cash for each share they own, a 38% premium to the stock’s closing price on April 1. Elon Musk’s sights on Twitter became major news when he purchased 9.2% of Twitter stock on April 4 making him the largest shareholder in the company. After Musk’s refusal to join the board of Twitter, our country became increasingly anxious about his plans for the future. Nonetheless, today, Elon Musk has made his plans for the company quite clear to the public.

Musk’s top priority with Twitter is to strengthen free speech on the platform and “work to unlock Twitter’s extraordinary potential.” “Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated,” Musk said. “I also want to make Twitter better than ever by enhancing the product with new features, making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating the spam bots, and authenticating all humans.” However, a portion of the media is panicking about Musk’s desire for free speech on Twitter. They believe that eliminating certain measures on the platform will lead to hate speech, misinformation, and other harmful content. Yet, I believe these “experts” are more concerned about an “equal playing field” when it comes to political agendas. Jack Dorsey, the co-founder and former CEO of Twitter, even noted “Twitter is so liberal that its conservative employees don’t feel safe to express their opinions.” Nonetheless, Musk does not plan to swing the company to “the right,” but rather he hopes even his ‘worst critics’ stay on the platform.  

There certainly are other social media platforms that are larger than Twitter, but few outweigh Twitter’s influence in the political world. It is used by many very important politicians, public figures, and journalists who play major roles in political discourse. Now, a major question being debated by the media is whether or not Donald Trump will return to the platform. Donald Trump’s Twitter account was removed last year for violating Twitter policies against inciting violence following January 6, 2021. Trump announced to CNBC, “I was disappointed by the way I was treated by Twitter. I won’t be going back on Twitter.” Trump has launched his own social media platform, Truth Social, which is definitely a factor in his decision not to return to Twitter. In any case, I believe Twitter is without a doubt going to be the center of future political debate and discussion in our country. I also suspect Trump’s ego and yearning to be involved in this political discourse eventually will draw him back onto Twitter because he will not be able to keep himself away from the action. Ultimately, Elon Musk purchasing Twitter and the possibility of Donald Trump returning to the platform both have serious ramifications for the upcoming 2024 US presidential election.