Musk’s Twitter takeover

Ben Kearney, News Reporter

In a $44 billion acquisition, billionaire Elon Musk took ownership of the social media platform Twitter on Oct. 27 after announcing his intentions at the beginning of the year. Since the takeover, Musk has been vocal about his plans for Twitter going forward. 

One of Musk’s plans for Twitter is to rework verifications of its users, which became an attribute of the platform in 2009. On Nov. 4, Musk confirmed he’s working to launch an updated version of the company in which any user can pay $8 per month to get or remain verified. The move has been called, by members of Congress and high ranking members of Twitter, a way to charge free speech. 

Musk has laid off 50 percent of Twitter workers since he took over. The LA Times reported that in 2013, Twitter employed a little more than 2,700 people. By 2021, the company had grown to more than 7,500 full-time employees. Musk’s takeover has now reduced the company to 3,800 employees. With a new debt of $13 billion hanging over the company, the pressure is on to make a quick profit.

One of Musk’s more controversial ideas is to reestablish former President Donald Trump’s account. Trump was banned on Twitter last year following the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Musk was quoted by The Washington Post stating that the ban “[w]as a morally bad decision, to be clear, and foolish in the extreme.” 

The Washington Post also stated that Musk’s decision to recover Trump’s account would overturn one of the most significant and widely debated corporate rulings in American technology history. With many predicting that Trump will run for president again in 2024, his Twitter account could reignite his political platform and followers.

Hate speech has been a running concern for Twitter in recent years. A Politico article stated that Twitter has already acknowledged a surge in hateful content in the days since Musk took over. On Nov. 1, Musk led a call with civil rights groups in an effort to assure them that he would curtail hate speech and stop the spread of misinformation ahead of the midterm elections. 

Musk’s takeover has drawn the attention of President Joe Biden. In an article published by CNN, Biden disparaged Musk’s changes claiming, “Elon Musk goes out and buys an outfit that spews lies all across the world. There’s no editors anymore in America.” 

There is much uncertainty regarding Musk’s acquisition of Twitter, but ample changes to the platform can be predicted in the coming months.