One of the largest modes of mass communication, Twitter, is under transition as multi-billionaire Elon Musk has offered the chair to buy the platform for over $43 billion. If the deal finalizes, it will give Musk absolute control of the platform.
Protecting Free Speech: Is Elon Musk Really Up for Some Good
Although Elon Musk has claimed that he wants Twitter to uphold the principles of freedom of speech to serve democracy, he is willing to turn the platform into a private entity to amass decision-making power.
Thus in the absence of shareholders, freedom of speech on the platform would be implemented according to the definition of Elon Musk.
According to Musk, he has no confidence in Twitter leadership, so it is in a position to defend freedom of speech.
He also bragged about his offer, claiming that this is the best bid that can be made on Twitter. Obviously, there would be no counter-bidder at all, and if the chair decides, it can sell the company to the tech billionaire.
“I Can Fix It Alone:” The Problematic Attitude of the Billionaire
However, the very attitude that “I can fix it alone” is detrimental not only to the platform but also to protect the fundamental ethos of free speech on the platform in the first place.
This is the same attitude that prompted Donald Trump to run for and win the presidency. But in this case, the situation is different from the case of Donald Trump. Musk has the record of setting things right, as he did in the case of Tesla, PayPal, and SpaceX.
Though the business and stock prices of Twitter remained less than the deserving value, the platform still has a significant role as the media, politicians, and business owners worldwide use it for quick announcements,
Thus, it has become a unique distribution medium of news and an equally unique place for digital marketing, being one of a part of big tech monopolies.
Reportedly, Musk has some good ideas to reform the platform regarding subscriptions and to reward loyal users more and make some product improvements to improve the product itself, which is only possible as a private company.
However, his narrative of defending free speech has worried employees of the platform as they can switch their jobs in big numbers as they want to avoid any sort of drama which can follow after Musk’s takeover.
Twitter Shareholders are Aware of the Danger if Musk Gets the Company
But Twitter stakeholders won’t let the company go easy. Everyone is well aware of the potential which Twitter holds, which is the very reason for the rising resistance within Twitter to give up the platform for the multi-billionaire.
One of the primary shareholders of Twitter, Alwaleed Bin Talal from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, was the first one to go against Musk’s bid for a Twitter takeover.
Now the Twitter directors have adopted a “poison pill,” which means that they increase the shares of the company to such an extent that it becomes practically impossible for the tech billionaire to buy the company.
Poison pills are a long-used tactic of companies to rule out any possibility of a takeover of the platform.
But there is a common perception that this adoption of the poison pill is a tactic to increase the price of the company to get the maximum possible profit out of the possible deal.
As the stock prices of Twitter increased after Musk’s announcement, there was also a perception that Musk just wanted to sell his shares at a higher price, so that is why he made such a big deal.
Whether it is a legitimate effort of Musk to capture the platform or just a pump-and-dump tactic to make quick gains, it will only be evident once all dust is settled. But one thing is sure: the ownership of such a large digital media company in a single hand poses actually a threat to the freedom of speech instead of protecting it