Microblogging and social networking company, Twitter has agreed a ‘definitive deal’ to sell itself to the world’s richest man, Elon Musk at approximately $44 billion.
Musk, an avid user of Twitter with over 83 million followers, now has huge power and influence over the most influential social media platform widely used by celebrities, politicians, activists and state leaders which is significant for sharing viewpoints.
The transaction, which has been unanimously approved by the Twitter Board of Directors, is expected to close in 2022, subject to the approval of Twitter stockholders, the receipt of applicable regulatory approvals and the satisfaction of other customary closing conditions.
With this move, Musk will take Twitter private, and Twitter stockholders will receive $54.20 in cash for each share of Twitter common stock that they own upon closing of the proposed transaction.
Musk in early April acquired a 9.2 per cent stake in Twitter, making him its largest shareholder.
He owns 73,486,938 shares of Twitter, which represents a 9.2 per cent stake in the company, according to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)13G filing.
A day after Musk acquired a 9.2 per cent stake in the company, the company subsequently announced it was appointing him to its board but Musk declined the offer.
Twitter board chair Bret Taylor said: “The body conducted a thoughtful and comprehensive process to assess Elon’s proposal with a deliberate focus on value, certainty, and financing,” according to the statement.
“The proposed transaction will deliver a substantial cash premium, and we believe it is the best path forward for Twitter’s stockholders.”
Musk’s campaign to buy Twitter had sparked concerns from millions of users. Many critics and supporters weighed in on what could lie ahead.
But Musk describes himself as a “free speech absolutist” and has criticised what he sees as excessive moderation on online platforms.
He has argued that social networks should not remove comments that, while offensive, are still legal. During a recent interview at a TED conference he said, “If it’s a grey area, let the tweet exists.”
Musk offered glimpses into his plans for Twitter which include relaxing content restrictions, combatting fake and automated accounts, and shifting away from an advertising-based revenue model.
Here’s what Musk said about his plan and how fast he could change things:
1. Creating an edit button so users can change their tweets – One of the most requested product changes among Twitter users is an edit button.
Unlike Facebook, Instagram and other social media apps, it is not possible to change content on Twitter once it’s published.
Musk had asked his followers whether they wanted an edit button in a poll on Twitter, and 73.6 percent of the more than 4 million voters said yes.
A day later, Twitter’s communications team confirmed in a tweet that the company was already working on the feature.
2. Opening up Twitter’s algorithm to the public – Musk has said he wants to make Twitter’s algorithm more transparent, including letting people see whether their tweets were promoted or demoted.
3. Launching a war on ‘bot armies’ – Combating the proliferation of bots on Twitter — fake accounts that are programmed to respond to tweets on certain topics — is another change Musk favors.
4. Donald Trump’s account reinstatement – Musk has not publicly said whether he would allow former President Donald Trump back on the platform after the company permanently suspended him for rhetoric that broke its rules and stoked the siege on the U.S. Capitol in Jan. 6.
5. Promoting free, open speech – Musk has said he wants to promote free and open speech on the platform, which he has said he sees as an essential place for sharing societal and political issues.