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Twitter is on the verge of major change with technology billionaire Elon Musk likely to take over. The richest person in the world wants to loosen the content rules on the platform and rethink the business model. Within days, the Tesla boss broke the company’s resistance to its buyout attack with funding pledges of more than $ 46.5 billion. Twitter’s board of directors approved the deal. Now enough Musk shareholders have yet to sell their shares.
Musk already holds a whopping 9 percent and that’s enough to top 50 percent. Because unlike Google or the Facebook Meta Platforms group, the founders and top managers on Twitter don’t hold shares with multiple voting rights that could guarantee their control over the company. Twitter and Musk took until the end of the year to finalize the sale.
What does the head of an electric car maker, a space company and a developer of brain implants want from Twitter? How will the service, which has become a kind of nervous system of the news industry, change as Musk’s private property? Who can make sure Musk isn’t using Twitter for commercial interests? Without the transparency of stock market reports, will you find out how Twitter makes money and if the business is doing? These are all questions to which there are no reliable answers so far.
When the deal was announced Monday, Musk promised, among other things, to “defeat spam bots and authenticate everyone.” The software algorithm used to select potentially interesting tweets for users should be made public.
Above all, Musk wrote as much freedom of speech as possible on the flags. This is only possible if the short message service leaves the stock market, he said. Musk described his idea of free speech as follows: “If someone you don’t like can say something you don’t like.” All opinions should be allowed within the law. Twitter with free speech is important for democracy and minimizes the risks to civilization, he said.
However, it is now the case that two groups in particular have complained particularly loudly about the alleged “censorship” on Twitter: people whose posts were followed due to incorrect or misleading information about the corona virus, and supporters of the former president. Donald Trump, who did not promptly claim that the 2020 election was stolen from him. Applause came from the fields for Musk’s viewing.
Others have raised the alarm. US Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren tweeted: “This deal is dangerous for our democracy. Billionaires like Elon Musk play by different rules than everyone else.” The civil rights organization ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) is also concerned: although Musk is a member and one of the most important supporters, it is “very dangerous to put so much power in one person’s hands”. Musk used the criticism to demonstrate his approach: “I hope even my worst critics stay on Twitter because that’s what free speech means.”
Former Facebook security chief Alex Stamos also warned against an “all is well” setting. You don’t add value to a platform by making it 99.9% full of pornography and advertisements for counterfeit branded sunglasses and erectile dysfunction drugs, he tweeted.
The human rights organization NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) tried to convey to Musk their vision of the limitations of expression: “Free speech is wonderful, hate speech is unacceptable.” . Furthermore, there is no place on Twitter for false information. NAACP President Derrick Johnson specifically appealed to Musk not to let Trump return to the platform. “Life is in danger, and so is our American democracy.” President Joe Biden’s White House is also concerned that Trump may reappear on Musk’s Twitter ahead of this fall’s Congressional elections and the 2024 presidential election, CNBC reported.
Trump was banned from Twitter after expressing sympathy for his supporters who stormed the Capitol in Washington on January 6, 2021. Management has so far stressed that there is no way for him to return to the platform. Musk might see it differently: He thinks temporary “timeouts” are better than permanent bans, the Tesla boss in general recently said. Musk himself downplayed the dangers of coronavirus at the start of the pandemic and called the restrictions in California “fascist”.
Trump told Fox News he wouldn’t be back on Twitter even if he could. Instead, the former president is building his own Twitter alternative called Truth Social, which has led a dark existence so far.
Musk has always said the Twitter deal isn’t about money. But it takes a lot of his money. While Musk will not be liable to anyone as the owner of Twitter, he still has to honor the debt he needs to complete the deal.
The 50-year-old has filed loan commitments of more than $ 25.5 billion and also wants to bring in assets of around $ 21 billion. Musk is by far the richest person in the world with an estimated net worth of around $ 257 billion. However, his wealth consists almost exclusively in shares of Tesla and his space company SpaceX. He has to guarantee equity loans.
In doing so, it will own a platform that has never been able to convert its importance to politics and the media into such a profitable business as, say, Facebook. Twitter made a whopping $ 5 billion in sales last year and posted a loss of $ 221.4 million. One of Musk’s ideas for Twitter is that a subscription model would ensure independence from large corporations better than today’s advertising business. But it is doubtful that enough users are willing to pay money to use Twitter.
Another question is how Musk’s business interests might conflict with those of Twitter. China is an important market for Tesla and isn’t exactly known as a stronghold of free speech. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos – the second richest man in the world, owner of the Washington Post and Musk’s space rival – consequently raised the question of whether China had just gained more influence on Twitter. Although he himself does not believe it, Bezos has limited him. But the situation for Tesla in China is becoming more difficult.
Wall Street Journal: Musk stabs a crawl space
The “Wall Street Journal” comments on the likely acquisition of Twitter by billionaire Elon Musk:
“What a bet for Musk, who says he can unlock values in Twitter that the current leadership can’t (unlock). (…) If Musk can find a more satisfying balance in content moderation, he may be right with value. Twitter’s hidden away. (…) Pushing the moderation dial back a few notches might encourage broader engagement, but be prepared to shout out progressives.
One start could be to break away from what appears to be a monoculture at Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters. Maybe Musk will move the company to Texas like he did with Tesla. How many Twitter programmers have been to a rodeo? Musk may also have functional changes in mind, such as longer tweets. (…) Musk notices that he is stabbing a wasp nest? Will the vision of him work? who knows But it will be fascinating to observe how Musk tries to destroy Silicon Valley’s culture of progressive conformism. ”
Deutsche Bank Raises Twitter Target to $ 54.20 – “Hold”
Deutsche Bank Research raised its target price for Twitter from $ 35 to $ 54.20 in line with Elon Musk’s takeover bid. In a study released Tuesday, analyst Benjamin Black rated “Hold”. The expert is pretty sure that Tesla’s boss’s approach will be successful. Moss is highly creative and also takes unusual paths. Black is consequently curious about the billionaire’s exact plans.
Shares of Twitter closed Monday in New York at $ 51.88 (+ 5.62%). It was even higher on Tuesday in pre-market trading, but then dropped 0.88% at times to $ 51.25 in regular trading.
SAN FRANCISCO / NEW YORK (dpa-AFX) / FRANKFURT (dpa-AFX Broker) / ag / tih
Original study published: 04/25/2022 / unspecified study time / GMT
First release of the original study: 04/25/2022 / 10:07 pm / GMT
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