Elon Musk Has Taken Control Of Twitter
In one of the world’s biggest deals in the tech world, billionaire Elon Musk has taken control of Twitter. The deal will see Musk acquire the social network for approximately $44 billion with shares valued at $54.20. Elon Musk’s bid to take over the company and go private, a deal that would give the world’s richest person control over the social-media network where he is also among its most influential users. There are more than 1.3 billion Twitter accounts, but only 192 million of them are daily active users.
Twitter's board at first enacted an anti-takeover measure known as a poison pill that could have made a takeover attempt prohibitively expensive. But when Musk outlined the financial commitments he'd lined up to back his offer of $46.5 billion — and no other bidders emerged — the board opened negotiations with him. Discussions over the deal, which last week appeared uncertain, accelerated over the weekend after Musk wooed Twitter shareholders with financing details of his offer.
Twitter adopted a poison pill after Musk made his offer to prevent him from raising his more than 9 per cent stake in the company above 15 per cent without negotiating a deal with its board. In response, Musk had threatened to launch a tender offer that he could use to register Twitter shareholder support for his bid, Reuters reported. A concern that Twitter's board weighed was that unless it sought to negotiate a deal with Musk, many shareholders could back him in a tender offer. While the poison pill would have prevented Twitter shareholders from tendering their shares, the company was worried that its negotiating hand would have weakened considerably if it was shown to be going against the will of many of its investors. Under pressure, Twitter started negotiating with Musk to buy the company at the proposed $54.20 per share price. The deal finally culminated Twitter's run as a public company since its 2013 initial public offering.
Mr Musk has long been vocal in his criticism of the platform's content policies, and there is speculation he could tweak Twitter's moderation rules and allow suspended accounts to return - such as that of former US President Donald Trump. After becoming Twitter's largest shareholder earlier in April, Mr Musk posted in a series of now-deleted tweets suggesting he'd like to get rid of adverts on Twitter's premium subscription service Twitter Blue. Mr Musk has spoken of "defeating the spam bots", one pledge that is likely to be extremely popular with Twitter users. Before his bid for Twitter, Mr Musk asked his followers if they wanted an edit button in a Twitter poll. It led to Twitter confirming that it was already working on a such a feature, which would allow users to change tweets after they have been posted. Users have long called for an edit button but there are concerns around how to execute it. On the plus side, it would allow users to fix typos or errors in a tweet without losing any replies, retweets or likes it has already gained. But if it isn't handled well, it could affect the platform's transparency.
What Mr. Musk does next toward promoting free speech on the platform would be keenly watched. The first challenge to this is the fact that free speech is understood differently by people belonging to different political ideologies. But, Mr. Musk is all for a light touch in moderating content. He is also in favour of increasing trust by making the algorithms open source and using technology to spot spam bots. Would that improve the situation? Perhaps. Would he do away with the safeguards Twitter has built over time? One hopes not. But Mr. Musk may realise in the journey that the issue of free speech is not so black-and-white from the vantage point of a platform owner. For, he is no longer just only a Twitter user with over 80 million followers. Recently, Digital Security Act has been accepted in EU Parliament over online regulation. India is also concerned about privacy and other related issue. Musk needs to pass through these tough challenges by keeping his modus operandi right. Days are ahead to watch what twitter can platter before us.
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