Musk creating a flutter in Twitter nest - GulfToday

Musk creating a flutter in Twitter nest

Elon Musk, now a corporate director at Twitter with majority stakes in his pocket. (Image via Twitter)

Elon Musk addressing a gathering in New York recently. (Image via Twitter)

When a high-profile person joins a high-profile firm, rumblings are sure to be felt in the industry. Trailblazer Elon Musk, who believes in realising his plans, or new-fangled ideas, has already ruffled feathers in the social media industry by making a $43 million bid to own Twitter. Musk has been very critical of the firm for its heavy reliance on advertising for most of its revenue. On Friday, however, Twitter banned ads that deny the reality of climate change. Twitter’s announcement on Earth Day came as it tries to fend off an unwanted takeover bid by billionaire Musk, who has said he thinks people should be able to say pretty much whatever they want on the platform.

The global one-to-many messaging platform is moving to prevent Musk from getting his hands on all of Twitter’s outstanding shares, signalling that worries about where he would lead the company outweigh the proffered payoff.

Now the social media giant has adopted what is being termed as a ‘poison pill’: tech-focused equity firm Thoma Bravo says it has more than $103 billion in assets and is exploring chances of putting forward a bid. While the ‘poison pill’ would prevent most Twitter shareholders from selling their shares, the tender offer would allow them to register their support or disapproval of Musk’s offer. Musk has been very disapproving of Twitter’s policy where free speech is concerned.

The Tesla CEO has said the social media company needs to be taken private to grow and become a platform for free speech. Musk is the world’s richest person with a net worth pegged by Forbes at $265 billion. The CEO of Tesla and SpaceX comes up with off-the-wall ideas every now and then. He has earned notoriety for his zany statements, such as human beings are living in a simulation, that we should nuke Mars to warm the planet, or that the pyramids were built by aliens.

Musk owns more than 9% of Twitter, making him the largest shareholder after mutual fund giant Vanguard.

The maverick billionaire could cause a paradigm shift in the policies of Twitter, particularly in areas such as civil rights, politics and freedom of speech and expression. He could put an end to some of the restrictions on content that Twitter has imposed as it attempts to promote free speech while combating hate speech and false information. Even if he fails to buy Twitter, the Tesla CEO may vote in ways that could shake up the company at its virtual May 25 meeting.

He is seen as a disrupter, and this is something that the Twitter management seems to be finding hard to stomach. Musk could steer Twitter away from censorship. His group has slammed the firm for taking measures such as banning the account of former US President Donald Trump after the storming of the US Capitol due to the risk of further incitement of violence.

Musk’s incredible appeal could be a problem. His charismatic personality could have an impact on the interest in voting. Already the man of ideas is proposing new content, suggesting an edit button for Twitter and long tweets that exceed the 280-character format. However, Saudi prince Al Waleed Bin Talal has criticised Musk’s offer, saying he does not believe the $43 million “comes close to the intrinsic value of Twitter, given its growth prospects.”

Musk treads on areas hitherto considered unthinkable or impossible. He has come to see his private rocket company SpaceX awarded Nasa contracts and his Twitter account help decide the fortunes of the stock market.

While honouring Elon Musk with the Person of the Year title, TIME said the billionaire drove society’s most daring and disruptive transformations. The magazine also added that he “bends governments and industry to the force of his ambition.” It remains to be seen whether he will do the same with Twitter.

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