Elon Musk, the world’s wealthiest man, who thinks tunnels are immune to natural disasters, is purchasing Twitter. The company confirmed on Monday afternoon that it had accepted the billionaire’s offer. “Twitter, Inc. today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by an entity wholly owned by Elon Musk, for $54.20 per share in cash in a transaction valued at approximately $44 billion,” reads the official press release. “Upon completion of the transaction, Twitter will become a privately held company.”
The improbable, terrifying news comes after multiple outlets reported the CEO of both Tesla and SpaceX managed to shore up backing from the likes of Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, and Barclays for the buyout. After a weeks-long rollercoaster ride filled with poison pill threats, antitrust violation worries, terrifying surveillance capitalism implications, and godawful tweets, it appears the tracks have ended squarely within a raging dumpster fire. It’s hard to overstate how big a deal this could be within the larger internet and social media landscapes — once completed, Elon Musk will arguably have more power over his platform than the likes of Mark Zuckerberg, or even former Twitter CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey.
It remains to be seen how, or if, federal regulators will respond. The Securities and Exchange Commission has found many an issue with Musk’s business dealings and behavior over the years, so this kind of online power consolidation could further encourage them to put even more pressure on the Technoking.
This probably isn’t over yet — As CNBC and elsewhere notes, House Judiciary Committee Republicans requested that Twitter’s board members preserve communications related to Elon Musk’s negotiations, “setting the stage for a potential congressional probe and subpoenas should the party win back control of the chamber after this year’s midterm elections.”
It might not take midterms to usher in that kind of investigation, though. After all, it’s not like Democrats are big fans of Big Tech antitrust violations, or Elon Musk himself.
What comes next — So what does this mean for everyone actually using Twitter? Well... that’s a pretty good question. Apart from Musk’s nebulous promise of finally delivering us an “Edit” button (something Twitter has already been teasing, by the way), it remains to be seen what, and how much, will change on the social media platform. Unfortunately, we currently find it hard to grasp how Musk’s alterations could actually improve the long broken and easily abused app.
This is, after all, a man with very few brilliant ideas and very many grandiose, vacuous promises. There’s a decent chance whatever Musk’s team introduces on Twitter will backfire spectacularly, and you know what? Go for it, man. Anything to stave off whatever he’s got planned for “free speech” reform.
Free speech fracas — Speaking of which, Musk has repeatedly voiced his (very dumb) concerns over what he views as Twitter’s hypocritical handling of “free speech,” something that is a cause for serious concern. Twitter, of course, does have a long history of problematic, inconsistent enforcement of its content policies — but not in the way Musk generally sees it. What our boy Elon really cares about is the ability to tweet ridiculous, market manipulating statements without fear of SEC reprisal.
There’s also a very good chance that Musk will push to reinstate accounts for certain monstrous people who thrive on exploiting nebulous concepts of “free speech,” which is 100 percent, objectively the single thing we don’t need right about now.
Buckle up, everyone. It’s about to get even darker on that hellscape of a website.