The Future of Twitter

  Matt Platz ‘ 22

      On March 25 Elon Musk tweeted “Free speech is essential to a functioning democracy. Do you believe Twitter rigorously adheres to this principle?”, to which 70% of followers voted “No.”   

     “The consequences of this poll will be important. Please vote carefully,” his Tweet said. 

      Soon after, he would go on to buy a 9.2% stake in the company and was offered a position on Twitter’s board of directors. Having a position on the board of directors caps the amount one can hold in the company, so he declined the position and offered a whopping $43 billion to buy the company outright, an offer that, on April 14,  was accepted. 

     For a variety of reasons, this caused public outrage, with people claiming he’s going to restore Donald Trump’s account, suppress opinions he disagrees with, etc. During an interview with TED, Musk said “having a public platform that is maximally trusted and broadly inclusive is extremely important to the future of civilization.” A priority of Musk’s is to be transparent with the public in regards to content moderation, meaning users should be made aware of what tweets are being promoted or deemphasized. 

     What I find frustrating about this situation is how people, especially on the left, are angry that a person can simply buy a media company at a moment’s notice.   

     These same people didn’t care when Mark Zuckerberg bought Instagram for $1 billion in 2012, when he bought WhatsApp for $14 billion in 2014 or when Jeff Bezos bought The Washington Post for $250k in 2013. I guess it’s all fine well and good until a controversial, outspoken, somewhat, right-wing guy does it. I’m no expert on the operations of multi-billion dollar companies, so I can’t accurately predict how Musk is going to handle the company, however, I do have a few predictions. 

     Firstly, I believe, for better or worse, Donald Trump’s account will be restored. 

     Secondly, I believe Jack Sweeney, owner and operator of the account ElonJet, will be permanently banned. Sweeney uses public aviation records to track Elon’s jet. Musk offered Sweeney $5,000 to delete his account. Sweeney refused the deal and held the jet’s location hostage for $50,000, an offer Musk would refuse. 

     Knowing Musk’s sheer wealth and “Tony Stark complex”, if you will, it seems about par for the course that he would spend $43 billion instead of $50 thousand just to prove a point. 

     As of today, I’ve not noticed any significant changes on the platform, but we’ll have to wait and see what the coming weeks bring us.