Tuesday, Apr 19, 2022, 15:49 Economy

Elon Musk Wants To Buy Twitter In The Name Of "Freedom Of Speech"

Over the last few days, a lot of back and forth reporting concerning Elon Musk and Twitter has taken place. The billionaire, known equally well for his outspokenness as for his many successful projects (Space X, Tesla, etc.) announced his intentions to join Twitter's board of directors. This did not actually end up happening, as per a statement from the beginning of last week detailing that Musk no longer intended to join Twitter's board of directors despite his 9.2% share in the company. After this announcement from the social media company's CEO, Musk responded with only a smiley face and a shocked emoji covering its mouth. There was a little bit more of a reaction from the other side, specifically in the form of a class action lawsuit due to deceptive announcements on Musk's part.

Musk Dislikes Moderation
Musk claims that he wants to help "freedom of speech" make a return to Twitter – and he claims that to do so, the company would have to be forcibly removed from the stock exchange. Musk criticizes the company's current stance on moderating crude conspiracy theories (e.g. Corona conspiracy theories or "mystical cures"), hate posts, or politically extremism. After Musk recently "joked around" on Twitter again, announcing an alleged purchase of all of Tesla's shares (with a significant impact on the stock market and price of these shares despite the entire thing essentially being a complete lie), The United States' Exchange Commission (the SEC) ruled that he can only continue tweeting in the future when his posts have been pre-checked by a lawyer. However, Musk only partially adheres to this, which has forced Twitter to continue moderating his page. The infamous Tesla CEO was also fined US$20 million and forced to step down as chairman of Tesla, although he was permitted to keep his position as CEO.

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14.9% Stake? Unacceptable To Musk
Were Musk to have joined Twitter's board of directors, the company would have only allowed him a maximal 14.9% stake in the company as per agreement. Musk's only counter would be to buy all of Twitter for US$41 billion – or all of Twitter's freely traded stock. The stock price immediately shot up more than 10% after rumors of this, leading to Musk's current stake in the company increasing by several hundred million dollars.

Further Steps Still Unknown – Several Predictions
What exactly Musk's plans are is still unknown, however, enthusiastic voices are already emanating from one political corner. After the storming of the US capitol at the beginning of last year, Donald Trump's account was banned from Twitter. Due to the account espousing not only vehement lies about the integrity of the election, but also calling for a coup d'etat, the sort messaging service decided to end Trump's career on the platform. According to Musk, however, the banning of accounts on Twitter interferes with "freedom of speech" (despite the buzz words "freedom of speech" frequently thrown around in the USA, some speech, such as hate speech or shouting "fire" in a movie theater is still very much illegal) – and some on Twitter are already celebrating the Donald's possible return.

The platform's current policy of not accepting every ridiculous statement as an expression of "freedom of speech" could end in the event of a successful takeover – leading to Twitter becoming a playground for extremist groups or "truth" networks currently restricted to Telegramm. Not to mention the possibility that other extremist, and even terrorist groups such as ISIS which have used Twitter in the past would also be clear to return to Twitter were moderation to be done away with entirely. Whether or not these happenings could lead to chaos or a renaissance on the platform remains to be seen.

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