After several weeks of negotiations, Elon Musk has struck a deal to buy Twitter for an eyewatering $US44 billion (AUD $61.4 billion).
The platform will soon be under the control of Musk who reportedly wooed the company shareholders with his extravagant offer.
Twitter is used by millions of people worldwide, particularly when it comes to breaking news events and keeping up to date with local emergencies as they happen. It’s also very popular among celebrities, journalists and scientific experts, among other intellectuals. So what will Musk, the world’s richest man, actually do with the platform when he owns it?
Below, what to expect from Musk’s takeover.
The main reason Musk sought to buy Twitter was because he believed it was not living up to its potential for “free speech”.
The billionaire said in a statement: “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.
“I also want to make Twitter better than ever by enhancing the product with new features, making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating the spam bots, and authenticating all humans.”
Musk’s commitment to free speech has left many people wondering what will happen to Donald Trump’s account, which was permanently banned after concerns it was a key reason for inciting the violence that unfolded during the Capitol riots in 2021.
While Musk has not commented specifically on Trump’s account, he has said that he is “very cautious with permanent bans”, with his preference being a timeout system instead.
Online safety considerations
No matter what Musk’s plans are, there will likely be heavy regulations in place aimed at securing the safety of Twitter’s users. As it stands, social media and online safety is under a microscope globally (the UK’s 2021 Online Safety Bill is case in point), with new laws and regulatory bodies working to protect users from harmful content.
No matter what Musk tries to do, he will still have these laws and regulations to answer to.
Option to edit
Another controversial change that could likely be enacted by Musk is the introduction of an “edit” option. At the moment, Tweets from users cannot be edited, only deleted—and unless you’re a Blue subscriber, that Tweet can be viewed by anyone before it’s removed.
Earlier this month, Musk gauged interest in the edit option by putting a poll to his followers. A 73.6 per cent majority voted yes.
Parag Agrawal became Twitter’s chief executive officer in November 2021, but Musk has previously made it clear that executive management would be in for a major shake-up if he ever takes over.
Before he bought the company, Musk said in another statement that he doesn’t have “confidence in management”.