On April 21, it was announced that Tesla and SpaceX CEO, Elon Musk, struck a deal with Twitter in order to buy the social media platform for around $44 billion. Since then, Twitter’s stock has risen by six percent. Musk plans to give Twitter stock holders $54.20 in cash per each share that they own, wanting to make Twitter a more “private” business. Although there is still an opportunity for this agreement to fall through, both parties stand to lose a considerable amount of money from backing out. A one billion dollar penalty will follow if either Musk or Twitter decides to cancel.
Already, Musk has stated many of the changes he wishes to make to Twitter. One of Musk’s main priorities following his purchase of the platform is “bringing back free speech.”
“Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated,” Musk says. “Twitter has tremendous potential-I look forward to working with the company and the community of users to unlock it.” Although free speech isn’t specifically defined, Musk’s political alignment means his definition of “free speech” likely involves avoiding backlash from “controversial” topics. A prime example that comes to mind is his infamous “Pronouns suck” tweet.
“Do not allow Twitter to become a petri dish for hate speech, or falsehoods that subvert our democracy,” said Derrick Johnson, president of the NAACP. Clearly, not everyone agrees with his “free speech” policy.
“I think everyone should have free speech except for Elon Musk,” Junior Quynhan Nguyen adds bluntly.
Musk also plans to charge government officials and companies to use Twitter. Compared to other social media sites, Twitter’s revenue from users is significantly lower, so it’s likely Musk plans on increasing this through corporations. Details concerning how much he wants to charge them have not been specified. He still plans to keep Twitter free for “casual users.”
Not all of his plans are unappealing to people, though. Junior Mars Onyeabo (@notmars22b), infamous for being permanently suspended every other week, is in favor of Musk’s “timeout” policy. Going along with his “free speech” advocacy, he believes that temporary restrictions would be more beneficial than permanent bans to allow people to say what they want. “As long as I don’t have to make any more accounts I’m happy with it,” Onyeabo says. “He can do whatever he wants… just leave my account alone.”
The sheer amount of money involved in this deal has sparked intense debate. Many people are protesting Musk’s irresponsible use of money, claiming that even a small portion of his $44 billion could be used to significantly help the world. Musk previously stated, “climate change is the biggest threat that humanity faces this century,” but openly decided to disagree with Biden’s “Build Back Better” legislation. Although Musk’s Tesla franchise is significantly more environmentally friendly than other manufacturers, this calls into question how committed he actually is to helping the world. His financial decisions with this deal are not as morally sound as his previous actions and statements.
“I think he’s a loser,” Senior Sofia Norberte says. “It’s stupid that he has that much money to spend and doesn’t spend it on anything good. There are so many other things he could do with his money like donating to the homeless or working on improving education; Why isn’t he doing literally anything that has a purpose?”
“When I first found out about it, I was like, ‘Haha, Elon’s buying Twitter,’” Senior Viet Ngo (@Vthapunter) says. “And then I remembered that he’s a POS and I went ‘Oh.’”
“Erm maybe he’ll stop Twitter from suspending Mars again,” Churchill Junior Syringa Abshire (@sssyringaaa) adds. “But I don’t trust that emerald mine apartheid baby.”
“He sucks,” Sophomore Peanut (Bones) Peran (@p0ppIn_staar) comments. “Everyone should follow me instead.”
Regardless of people’s views on Musk, this deal is entirely representative of capitalism being used for personal gain in today’s society instead of advancing it. There are better things to worry about than buying the one social media site that creates controversies every other week.
“It’s dumb,” Junior Reese Schenkel (@puffsandcups) says. “It’s pointless—What’s the point?”