Bought by Musk: what's in store for Twitter?
Multibillionaire Elon Musk is taking over Twitter for around 44 billion US dollars (roughly 40 billion euros). The move was announced on the platform on Monday after a failed attempt by the board of directors to prevent the acquisition. The prospect of the richest man in the world taking Twitter off the stock exchange and moulding it to his liking has triggered a lively debate about freedom of expression, power and management.
Will the network lose its appeal?
La Vanguardia expects there will be major changes to the platform:
“What will Musk do with Twitter? As things stand now the US Republicans have already asked him to readmit Donald Trump to the network - which he could do, since the businessman has been very critical of the blocking of Trump's account. But that's just an anecdote compared with all the things a mind as prodigious and unconventional as this billionaire's can come up with. ... There is no doubt that Twitter will undergo a major transformation. Either it will take off and become an even more powerful social network or it will lose its charm due to the tycoon's influence. Something big is going to happen on Twitter.”
Rules for discussion are constantly renegotiated
No one has the blueprint for the ideal debate culture yet, Krytyka Polityczna puts in:
“The whole discussion about freedom of speech is really about power. It's about who has the right to participate in public debate; who determines who is the host and sets the rules, and who is a guest and can be kicked out at any time. We should not be under any illusions that there are easy answers in this dispute - an ideal pattern for the organisation of public debate. We never had one, there was never a golden age when pluralism of debate was ideal. And the rise of social media has complicated the issue even further.”
Musk will get even richer as an opinion leader
This is a frightening development, news website TVXS comments:
“The richest man in the world believes that there should be no restrictions on Twitter. ... Even when it comes to spreading fake news or dangerous propaganda. That's why he even defended Trump when he was 'barred' from social media. ... Elon Musk will do whatever he wants because he can. He is uncontrollable, and subject neither to evaluation nor supervision by a higher authority. ... He owns both Twitter and Tesla. And so he'll become rich not only with commercial products and his inventions. He will also enrich himself with thoughts, ideas, opinions, comments, and words that roll across the keyboard like coins downhill.”
He will make a good manager
The Spectator is delighted with the platform's new boss:
“He is a passionate believer in free speech, a quality he views as sorely lacking on the platform. A commitment to enabling unfettered conversation would make it a far more interesting place to be. Secondly, and relatedly, he thinks he can run it better than the current management. Given his track record disrupting other industries, it would be a brave man who bets against him. These relatively mild ambitions have provoked gloriously, beautifully barmy responses. ... The objection to Elon Musk buying Twitter is not so much that this ability [to coordinate the narrative] would reside with one person, but that it would reside with the other side of the aisle.”