Elon Musk Buys Twitter

It's happened. What does it mean?

After days of cat and mouse, the World’s Richest Man has acquired total control of the social media platform most used by global elites.

CNBC, “Twitter accepts Elon Musk’s buyout deal

Twitter’s board has accepted an offer from billionaire Elon Musk to buy the social media company and take it private, the company announced Monday.

The stock closed up 5.64% for the day after it was halted for the news.

“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 in a statement included in the press release announcing the $44 billion deal. “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. Twitter has tremendous potential — I look forward to working with the company and the community of users to unlock it.”

The cash deal at $54.20 per share is valued at around $44 billion, according to the press release. Twitter would become a private company on completion of the deal, which requires shareholder and regulatory approval.

The announcement ends a weekslong saga Musk kicked off when he disclosed a large stake in the company. Soon after, the company said he would join the board, only for Musk to reverse course on that plan several days later. Then, he offered to buy the company at $54.20 per share, his “best and final.” That offer valued Twitter at about $43 billion.

Assuming the deal closes and Musk takes ownership of Twitter, the company will be controlled by the world’s richest person and someone who’s been a heavy critic of the platform while using it in legally contentious ways, mostly through sensitive posts about his car manufacturer, Tesla.

Though Musk has indicated that his primary interest in Twitter has to do with what he views as the company’s censorship of free speech, Musk critics are concerned that the billionaire’s control over the platform will result in the silencing of their voices and others with whom he may disagree, given that he’s often blocked critics from his personal account.

Twitter’s board sought to fend off a hostile takeover by adopting a so-called poison pill, or shareholder rights agreement, that would allow other shareholders to buy the stock at a discount should Musk or another person or group acquire more than 15% of outstanding common stock. The plan would dilute that person’s holdings in a strategy commonly employed to prevent unwanted acquisitions.

The board seemed to have two reasons to consider rejecting the deal. The first was that the offer, while priced well above Twitter’s current share price, was arguably too low given it had recently surged above that price tag.

The second was that it was initially unclear how Musk would fund the deal. Despite his being the world’s richest person, much of his wealth is tied up in Tesla stock, meaning he would likely have to borrow against his holdings to fund the deal.

But the offer became more concrete once Musk announced in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that he received commitments for $46.5 billion to help finance the potential deal. That included about $25.5 billion in debt financing from Morgan Stanley Senior Funding and other firms. He said he committed about $21 billion in equity financing.

The thing about public companies is that they’re for sale. If one has enough money—and Musk clearly does—one can buy it. WaPo’s Naomi Nix and Chris Alcantara question the financials in “Twitter lags behind its rivals. Here’s why Elon Musk bought it anyway.”

On Monday, Elon Musk agreed to acquire Twitter for $44 billion, making good on an offer that was met with skepticism by much of the investor community when he launched his hostile takeover bid.

That’s in part because, by the numbers, Twitter is hardly the most successful — or even the most influential — social media platform in the marketplace. TikTok has more than 600 million monthly users and is growing exponentially as the platform chosen by young people, according to estimates from Insider Intelligence. Facebook, while stagnating, has more than 2 billion monthly users and is practically synonymous with the Internet in some places.

Twitter had a humble338.6million monthly global users last year, according to the estimates. And while politicians, journalists and celebrities — and even Musk, with more than 84 million followers — use it as a megaphone, it’s not the most consequential platform globally.

[…]

Still, the company has an elite and dedicated audience. Among the users who regularly visit Twitter, just a handful of them are responsible for the vast majority of content appearing on the social network.

The most-active quarter of adult Twitter users in the United States produced nearly all of the content by all adult users in the country, according to a 2021 study by the Pew Research Center. That means 75 percent of adult Twitter users in the United States hardly tweet.

The majority of the most-prolific users visit Twitter daily, and more than 20 percent of them say they visit the site “too many times to count” each day, according to Pew.

“The thing about Twitter is, it’s actually quite a demanding platform,” said Ethan Porter, an assistant professor of media and public affairs at George Washington University. “In other words, to really participate on Twitter, you need to be a really active Twitter user, and the number of people who have jobs that allow them to be active Twitter users is pretty small.”

Experts said Musk is not wrong to target Twitter if he wants to have an impact on public discourse. Nearly 70 percent of U.S. Twitter users say they get news from the social media network, according to Pew. The vast majority of those Twitter news consumers say they have used the social media network to follow live events, Pew’s report found.

Even if their tweets reach only an elite audience on the social media network, politicians, companies and activists often rely on the platform to set the news agenda more broadly.

As to what it all means for the discourse on the platform, nobody really knows.

Harvard Law student Evelyn Douek, writing at The Atlantic, predicts “Running Twitter Is Going to Disappoint Elon Musk.”

A fun thing about content moderation—the practice of social-media platforms deciding what we can and cannot say in some of the world’s most important online spaces—is that almost everyone thinks that it’s broken, albeit in different ways. Almost everyone also thinks that if you just put them in charge, they would fix things. When you’re the world’s richest man, you can actually give it a shot. And so, Elon Musk is buying Twitter, and a main reason is that he doesn’t like the company’s content moderation.

A peculiar fact about our modern public sphere is how much its borders depend on the whims of a few companies and their billionaire owners. A handful of people—mostly men and mostly in Silicon Valley—decide whether Russian state media should be allowed to have social-media accounts, whether a controversial post about the coronavirus can be amplified to millions of people or will be taken down, and whether the former president of the United States will keep or lose his most direct line to the global public. The executives who kicked Donald Trump off Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube early last year could’ve made those judgments by coin toss and no one could have done anything about it. The deliberation about whether to let him back on if he runs for president again in 2024 could be just as arbitrary. Millions of similar decisions—of differing levels of consequence—are made every day.

Our public sphere is governed by almost entirely unconstrained private power. As the internet has become ever more centralized on just a few major platforms, the impact of those companies over every aspect of our lives—politics, culture, the very way we speak—has kept on growing.

That might not seem so bad when content-moderation decisions come out how you want them to. Many on the left celebrated the ability for platforms to banish Trump with a few clicks. Many on the right believe they are unfairly targeted by left-leaning Silicon Valley executives and may celebrate a more freewheeling Twitter if Musk gets rid of many of its content-moderation rules. But that’s short-sighted. Ultimately, private power will always protect private power and not public interests.

Beyond the stray hints he’s offered in tweets, SEC filings, and interviews, Musk hasn’t given much detail about his vision for Twitter. But if he thinks it can exist without extensive content moderation, he is in for a shock. A universal rule of user-generated platforms is that every one of them has to moderate posts once it reaches a certain size. A platform that refuses to dirty its hands by taking down content will soon become flooded with scammerspornterrorist recruiters, and, sometimes, literal shitposts. And its user base, its advertisers, and the other tech companies it relies on to operate won’t like that. ParlerGettr, and Reddit all learned this lesson the hard way. That’s not even to mention the tightropes platforms have to walk in dealing with governments around the world that are ramping up pressure on platforms to submit to their will, often at the cost of their citizens’ free-speech rights.

This has been a recurring theme at OTB since almost the beginning. While debate is enhanced by a wide variety of perspectives, a free-for-all inevitably descends into a cesspool. I tend to police tone more so than content but there are limits even on the latter. I eventually started deleting the worse anti-vaccine nonsense simply because it derailed threads.

Some are going further. Reuters reports “Human rights groups raise hate speech concerns after Musk’s takeover of Twitter.”

Twitter is not just another company, human rights advocates noted. “Regardless of who owns Twitter, the company has human rights responsibilities to respect the rights of people around the world who rely on the platform. Changes to its policies, features, and algorithms, big and small, can have disproportionate and sometimes devastating impacts, including offline violence,” Deborah Brown, a digital rights researcher and advocate at Human Rights Watch, told Reuters in an email.

“Freedom of expression is not an absolute right, which is why Twitter needs to invest in efforts to keep its most vulnerable users safe on the platform,” she added.

[…]

“While Elon Musk is an ACLU card-carrying member and one of our most significant supporters, there’s a lot of danger having so much power in the hands of any one individual,” Anthony Romero, executive director at the American Civil Liberties Union, told Reuters after the deal was announced.

Amnesty International said it was concerned about any potential decision that Twitter may take after Musk’s takeover to erode enforcement of the policies and mechanisms designed to moderate hate speech online.

“The last thing we need is a Twitter that willfully turns a blind eye to violent and abusive speech against users, particularly those most disproportionately impacted, including women, non-binary persons, and others,” Michael Kleinman, director of technology and human rights at Amnesty International USA, said on Monday.

There is some gnashing of the teeth from Democrats and triumphalism among Trumpers but it’s really too soon to know how it’ll all play out.

POLITICO’s Playbook has the headline “Republicans to Trump: Stay away from Twitter.”

The news that ELON MUSK is buying Twitter has thrown Washington into a tizzy over one major question: Will DONALD TRUMP return to his old favorite social media platform and start tweeting again?

As it turns out, no one is more petrified of this than members of Trump’s own party.  

On Monday night, in a series of calls and texts with several top GOP insiders, every single one of them told us that they hoped the former president stays the hell away from Twitter, lest he sink their chances at flipping the House and Senate. Some of his allies even think that a return to his old Twitter habits could damage his own brand ahead of a possible third presidential bid in 2024.

“If I’m a Democrat, I’d pray that Elon Musk puts Trump right back on Twitter,” said one House GOP leadership aide, who asked not to be named to speak candidly. “I don’t think it costs Republicans the House, but it certainly will elevate Trump’s opinions — and is going to put Republican candidates and members back having to answer for that.”

The person added: “It’s enough to create headaches — and it’s enough to probably cost us a couple seats.”

Some may find this a rather surprising reaction, given that many Republicans have both accused Big Tech of censoring conservative voices (the former president being the most prominent example) and showered praise on the Musk takeover. But as is often the case with the GOP and all things Trump, privately, they feel very differently.

To be sure, there’s a lot yet unknown about whether or not Trump will return to Twitter.

Will Twitter allow it? Questions abound over whether Musk’s new leadership team will allow the resurrection of the now-defunct @realDonaldTrump handle. (The Tesla and SpaceX impresario, however, has blasted Twitter’s permanent bans and what he views as its censorship of free speech.)

Will Trump even want to rejoin? Trump said on Fox News on Monday that he doesn’t intend to return to the platform, and will instead stick to his own social media startup, Truth Social. “I am not going on Twitter,” he said. “I am going to stay on Truth.”

Here’s the thing: Nobody really believes him.

Republicans we spoke with predicted that Trump won’t be able to resist the urge to see millions of retweets and likes on his posts, to say nothing of his ability to drive any news cycle with a message to his 88 million-plus followers. Could he stay on Truth Social? Sure, but that platform has been something of a disaster (read here and here). Trump himself seems to realize this, and has posted on it only once.

The Bulwark‘s Tim Miller suggests “Musk Twitter Could Be a Disaster For MAGA Grifters and Republican Ostriches.”

Musk Twitter might also be a disaster for a couple of groups who cosmically deserve it:

1) Mitch McConnell and the establishment Republican ostriches who are doing everything in their power to put their heads in the sand and pretend Donald Trump doesn’t exist (unless they need to cash in on his name and likeness).

2) The Nazi grifters who started the various Deploratwitter knockoffs like TRUTH, Parler, and Gettr and are now set to be totally pwned by Twitter offering these very fine people the same freedom to shitpost in front of bigger audiences.

So if the two-faced Trumpists and the worst MAGA scammers are going to suffer, might we consider squeaking out one cheer for Musk. Or a half a cheer? Or even just a mild affirmative grunt?

The case for their suffering is as follows:

In Georgia on Insurrection Eve, we saw how a big Trump megaphone could divide the Republican base, resulting in political success for the Democrats. The election fraud mass formation psychosis led Trump voters in rural parts of the state to stay home rather than participate in yet another RIGGED contest while a small percentage of Atlanta Kemp/Raffensperger Republicans refused to be a party to the anti-democratic horror show. As a result, Georgia elected the state’s first black and Jewish senators—on the same day!—despite the fact that both had fewer votes than their GOP opponents during the November election.

A repeat of that is the worst-case scenario for the GOP at a time when the political environment is looking rather rosy for them.

Finally, the Federalist‘s Jordan Boyd suggests, “The Best Thing Elon Musk Could Do With Twitter Is Annihilate It.” Alas, her argument is juvenile.

There are plenty of rational arguments to justify wiping Twitter off the face of the planet. First of all, much like other Big Tech-controlled platforms, Twitter is a censorship cesspool operated by Silicon Valley elites who are prone to radical groupthink. It’s an app laced with manipulative algorithms and politically motivated shadowbanning.

Musk can try to serve justice by reinstating The Babylon Bee and every other account that fell victim to Twitter’s reckless political censorship. He can add an edit button and give me a blue checkmark, but that won’t change how the corrupt press or other Big Tech companies treat speech that they don’t like.

Speaking of free speech, Twitter is far from the pro-First Amendment social media company that it was ostensibly created to be and I’m personally not convinced that the “Techno-king of Tesla,” whose success is sustained by government subsidies, has the power to fix it.

It’s also a platform that induces and profits off of doom-scrolling, which leads to heightened anxiety and worsening mental health. The only difference between Twitter and Facebook or Instagram is that Twitter doesn’t pretend to be a place where users can “stay connected with family and friends” and you only have 280 characters to voice an unoriginal thought.

Better than an entire column, I guess.

FILED UNDER: Economics and Business,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Kylopod says:
  2. de stijl says:

    To those who use Twitter reularly, I feel a smidgen of sympathy. But, really, I don’t care. No skin off my butt.

    It is a company designed to sell ads to self-identified marks.

    7
  3. The Federalist has a juevenile column?

    The hell you say!

    9
  4. Modulo Myself says:

    I don’t get what Musk can do differently, other than turn it upside-down and make it into a right-wing fantasy zone where you get to call trans people by the wrong gender and then ban people who tell you to go to hell. Otherwise, Twitter is pretty unrestricted unless you’re Trump, the Hunter Biden laptop story, or the someone who is just plain awful at an extreme level. No human being would just click their way through twitter and all of the reply guys and stupid bots and boring cruelty and ask for more free speech, and less restrictions.

  5. CSK says:

    @Kylopod:
    I assume that’s a fake/parody.

  6. Kathy says:

    The current life ban of Benito is perfect for the GQP. They can rail against “woke” corporations stomping on the first amendment*, while being spared El Cheeto’s embarrassing oral diarrhea.

    *Unlike, you know, passing laws to punish a company for what its CEO says.

    1
  7. ptfe says:

    Chef’s kiss of a closer there.

    I doubt Musk will tinker much with the existing policies specifically in a way that enables more far-right bullsh!t in the Twitterverse. Neo-authoritarian right-wingers complain about getting banned for “being conservative” when they really mean “being racist” or “encouraging actual violence”. Musk dgaf about those goons.

    I suspect what we’ll see with Musk is essentially the same terms, slightly more lax enforcement – especially of people who praise him – and a re-proliferation of bot farm responses (because Musk gets a ton of those, esp on his crypto posts). I would also put money on there being an attempt at a Twitter+crypto/NFT (in some form) within the first 6 months – something like paying to have your tweets posted on the blockchain for more permanence/a larger audience, or the platform servicing NFT tickets to view popular-person tweets or something.

    5
  8. Tony W says:

    I deleted my Twitter account this morning – created in 2009. Not that it will make much difference but I do not want to be part of an unsupervised community with no rules. There are plenty of places for the nutcases to go.

    1
  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Will Trump even want to rejoin? Trump said on Fox News on Monday that he doesn’t intend to return to the platform, and will instead stick to his own social media startup, Truth Social. “I am not going on Twitter,” he said. “I am going to stay on Truth.”

    Sure. He isn’t on it now.

    1
  10. Slugger says:

    This appears to be an undertaking like Musk’s plan to get humans on Mars, a big deal project with little practical value. When you’re really, really rich you can indulge in projects that don’t strictly pencil out but get you invited by the powerful. Personally, I’d go for owning a sports franchise, dating supermodels, and buying Van Goghs.

    1
  11. Sleeping Dog says:

    On the open forum, @Michael Cain: expresses the thought that Musk has some master plan for Twitter, maybe. But I find it interesting that no competing bids surfaced, despite the rumors that a number of investors have considered acquiring Twitter, also, the shareholders forced the board to consider the offer, leading one to believe they have little confidence in the company’s future.

    3
  12. Kurtz says:

    I’ll modify one part of my post from the open thread yesterday.

    In an interview, Musk called Twitter the new “public square.” If a public square resembled Twitter, it would look more like Robert Stack walking through the airport.

    4
  13. Michael Cain says:

    In terms of right wing/left wing, I’ll just note that without Twitter for source material, Balloon Juice is likely to dry up and blow away. They recently had to impose a rule on their front pagers of no more than one embedded tweet above-the-fold per post, because repeated page redraws in the common browsers after each tweet was loaded made the front page largely unreadable for 20-30 seconds. Over at the Daily Kos, Ukraine coverage is dominated by embedded tweets. For an “unusable cesspool”, a lot of people seem to depend on it as a source of near real time reporting.

    3
  14. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    From what I’ve read the debt service on what Musk is financing is more than Twitter makes, so on face this doesn’t make a lot of sense. But Musk does get mocked on a regular basis by the denizens of Twitter so his overly sensitive ego is certainly a factor. Remember that Trump decided to run for President when he was mocked by Obama at the WHCD.
    In any case this is months away from being a done deal, when you consider regulatory approvals and such.
    OK – what’s the next bright shiny object we need to focus on?

    2
  15. Kylopod says:

    I assume that’s a fake/parody.

    Ya think?

    Seriously, this is from a template I created years ago for fake troll tweets I’d post over at Political Wire. There are websites for creating fake tweets, but they aren’t remotely real-looking. I wanted something that had the potential to fool someone into believing it was a real tweet, to the best of my photoshopping ability. Still, you can kind of tell the graphics aren’t quite right, and just to be sure I created my own logo in the top righthand corner of a running ostrich in place of the standard Twitter bird. Despite all that, when I’ve posted these on Political Wire, they have appeared to fool more than a few people.

    Initially I was just doing fake Trump tweets like this one, but eventually I started doing ones for Biden and beyond.

  16. Michael Cain says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    You left out the major part of my comment: Musk is the only single person in the world who owns an ISP — Starlink — with global reach, just getting to the point where he can sign up millions of users. The potential of Twitter as infrastructure for a variety of services for Starlink customers makes sense for him in a way that applies to no one else.

    3
  17. CSK says:

    @Kylopod:
    Ever since Donald Trump came down the golden escalator, it’s hard to tell parody from reality. It’s the better part of wisdom to check.

    1
  18. Kylopod says:

    @CSK:

    Ever since Donald Trump came down the golden escalator, it’s hard to tell parody from reality.

    The term Poe’s Law was coined in 2005, initially in reference to creationists, for whom it is indeed often hard to tell parody apart from the real thing.

    I agree about Trump being a special case when it comes to our politics, though. I’ve already spoken at length here about how for years I seriously assumed he was some kind of a performance artist of the Andy Kaufman ilk. And his rise to the presidency seems to have brought much of our general politics down to that level.

    2
  19. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Michael Cain:

    To me, the relevant part of your thought is that Musk has a plan, how that integrates with his other business is less germane.

  20. just nutha says:

    @Slugger: Not enough conspicuous consumption value in a sports franchise at a mere couple-three billion/per. Buying sports franchises is what the middle class billionaires and multimillionaires do these days. The big playas need more challenge.

  21. Kathy says:

    @CSK:

    I think parody seems more realistic.

  22. CSK says:

    @Kathy:
    Well, if you mean that Trump himself is a living, breathing parody, I would agree.

  23. just nutha says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: If in fact the goal is conspicuous consumption (and I would say it is at least an underlying motivation) the fact that the debt service exceeds the value may well be a feature rather than a bug.

  24. Kurtz says:

    Comment seen on a Gizmodo article, “Elon Musk Proves Yet Again That He’s Just Not Very Bright.”

    “Meritocracy is a myth”

    Wait… Are you trying to say there’s no merit to inheriting your daddy’s fortune? No merit to buying titles and taking credit for others’work? No merit to abusing your staff, exploiting your workers, and cosplaying as poor?

    Well that’s just unAmerican

    Ignore the click-baity title. Call it hubris; call it effective self-promotion; call it whatever you want. The reason someone like Musk or Jobs or Trump can exist in their public form is because people develop obsessions.

    Before the internet scaled, subcultures existed in corners most people ignored. Now, they’re beamed directly to us and accumulate new members via social gravity. There are enough people that a subculture can be as populated and visible as previous entire cultures.

    3
  25. just nutha says:

    @Michael Cain: / @just nutha: On the other hand, you bring up a point that takes the purchase in a different direction, but may make the fact that initially at least, the purchase doesn’t pencil out a more important question.

  26. Scott F. says:

    Wealth Inequality = Speech Inequality: Exhibit 8435

    4
  27. Gustopher says:

    The most-active quarter of adult Twitter users in the United States produced nearly all of the content by all adult users in the country, according to a 2021 study by the Pew Research Center. That means 75 percent of adult Twitter users in the United States hardly tweet.

    I would bet that if you looked at content weighted by human followers, the vast, vast bulk of that is going to be the top 5% or so. (Weighted by followers rather than views, as many popular tweets are raised to prominence by the likes and retweets of the people with real followers)

    Those people are one of the key assets Musk has just bought, and any changes that make them skittish are going to have very quick and bad consequences for the platform.

    Musk does not seem like someone who carefully considers how his actions will affect others, so if he is actively engaged in his new $44B toy he’s likely to break it.

    The other assets are the infrastructure and the employees. The infrastructure is pretty much immune to his day to day flightiness, but it takes a very special kind of employee to want to put up with that, and with the job market for engineers being very, very hot right now I expect there will be enough turnover that any plans he has will be slowed by the churn.

    1
  28. Kathy says:

    @Gustopher:

    The infrastructure is pretty much immune to his day to day flightiness

    Maybe he bought Twitter to raid the servers for chips for his Teslas. 😉

  29. pylon says:

    There is still the possibility that Musk’s announcement shoots the stock price up (to where his offer is) and at the last minute he (a) announces he’s backing out for whatever reason and (b) very very shortly thereafter dumps his existing 9% before it falls below what he bought it for. and dares the regulators to find something wrong with that.

  30. just nutha says:

    @Scott F.: A while ago I read something at the Patheos blog where the author asserted that poverty was the opposite of justice rather than injustice. I’ve been hoping that the writer would expand on that in other posts, but he or she never seemed to.

    1
  31. Lounsbury says:

    @Tony W: Next you move to Canada one presumes.

    @pylon: One should pay close attention to, illustratively,

    Tesla valuation slides more than $110bn after Elon Musk’s Twitter deal

    the evolution of underlying stock value given the funding proposal is based heavily on such. Leveraging up Tesla ownership for a lark certainly from a non-Musk Tesla equity owner rather gives one pause. (well Tesla ratios should give one pause too, but if one is buying a Musk driven future value story…)

  32. Lounsbury says:
  33. Mimai says:

    I see a lot of “coulds” and “mays” and “possibles” etc. I see very few actual predictions of what will happen and on what time horizon. But I’m not following this closely.

    Has anyone seen some actual predictions (bets) made by the pundits and various commenters? Anyone willing to articulate some here?

  34. JustAGirl says:

    It kind of sums things up that the freakout over Musk buying Twitter is NOT that people fear they will be censored but that other people they don’t like will no longer be censored.

    1
  35. Tony W says:

    @Lounsbury: Sadly Canada won’t have me because I am unwilling to form a business and employ Canadians. Canada seems to be one of those countries you can’t just buy your way into. At this point, I’m just enjoying my money and retirement too much to work that hard.

    But the tradeoff of universal health care is compelling.

    2
  36. Lounsbury says:

    @Mimai: As the freak out is essentially political and not particularly informed by any insights into actual operational business, one should not expect much beyond “OMG they will unban Trump” (either directly or indirectly stated).

    But regardless Musk has to first get through to transaction, which given the manner he is funding it and the performance of Twitter stock, this should not be counted as a done-done deal quite as yet.

    And if the trends continues but he maintains the deal, the parameters of his takeover and control may change in a very material manner.

    @Tony W: you perhaps missed the implication.

  37. Tony W says:

    @Lounsbury: Perhaps you missed that I’m a man of my word

    1
  38. Gustopher says:

    @JustAGirl: Nazis, racists, bigots and pedophiles. Every unmoderated forum quickly descends to Nazis, racists, bigots and pedophiles. Actual pedophiles, not “QAnon says Tom Hanks is a pedophile” pedophiles. And bots. And people indistinguishable from bots.

    Twitter has a problem with that now, but generally works to reduce it, to varying degrees of success.

    Do you support Nazis, racists, bigots, pedophiles and bots joining every conversation?

    If my response to you was “JustAGirl, eh? Show us your tits you filthy slut!”, would that foster conversations or chill them? What if I spent my time getting as close to “show us your tits you filthy slut” as the loosely interpreted rules allowed? Or went with the “women should be barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen, just as the founding FATHERS intended”, carefully avoiding the personal attack, but edging up to it.

    Because that’s what happens.

    5
  39. Lounsbury says:

    @Tony W: I was quite able to discern drama llama-ism over a not even completed potential transaction, over not yet even in place decisions feverishly dreamed up.

  40. EddieInCA says:

    I’m thrilled Musk purchased twitter:

    1. Twitter lost 1.14 billion last year.
    2. Twitter is losing active users.
    3. 75% of the content is produced by less than 25% of the users.

    This deal reminds me of Rupert Murdoch overpaying for MySpace.

    Think about this….

    If the Twitter board thought that Twitter had a big upside, why would they sell now, at such a measly premium? Because they have no faith in the business model. They took the money and ran, with ZERO other bidders for the company. Musk negotiated against himself and overpaid for an asset that hasn’t made much money relative to it’s perceived influence.

    6
  41. Gustopher says:

    @EddieInCA:

    1. Twitter lost 1.14 billion last year.
    2. Twitter is losing active users.
    3. 75% of the content is produced by less than 25% of the users.

    That third one is not a indication of anything unhealthy — except that it might not be compressed enough. Any social network is going to have far more readers/perusers than creators. If it really is 75% created by 25%, that is so flat it might show a bot problem.

    (Do likes count as content? If so, than 75-25 might be a healthy number. If not, it is suspiciously flat — it doesn’t sound flat, but compared to every social thing I have worked on that is crazy flat)

  42. DK says:

    @JustAGirl:

    … people fear they will be censored but that other people they don’t like will no longer be censored.

    Yes, people fear Nazis and pedophiles will no longer be censored.

    Are you in the camp that likes Nazis and pedophiles?

    6
  43. Jax says:

    @DK: Don’t forget the PussyGrabbers™. She might own the T-shirt. 😛

    3
  44. Ken_L says:

    The good news is that the former guy’s grand plan to make a bazillion dollars by merging TRUTH Social with Digital World Acquisition Corp lies in tatters. Indeed the share price of the latter is likely to fall below the threshold required, on my understanding, to let the deal go through. There’s no way he could return to Twitter without wrecking his own company. If he did, it’s likely the other investors in DWAC could sue him for deliberately tanking their arrangement.

    1
  45. DK says:

    @Ken_L: Cynically, for selfish electoral reasons, are we sure we don’t want Trump on Twitter wreaking havoc on McQarthy, McQonnell, and the GQP?

  46. Lounsbury says:

    @EddieInCA: Musk hasn’t yet paid and it is very interesting he negotiated a comparatively under market break fee for himself.

    Suggestive

  47. Pylon says:

    If Musk goes through with the deal I promise I will reside in Canada immediately thereafter.