Elon Musk and Twitter have been in the headlines consistently for the past year. From a complete takeover to mass layoffs and data regulation breaches, Twitter has seen a lot in such a short period.
Musk, a billionaire, founder, innovator, and businessman had bought Twitter entirely for $44 billion earlier in 2022. The microblogging platform has undergone many changes since, ruffling the feathers of many users. With Musk buying the platform, Twitter became a private company. The billionaire believes Twitter has great potential and he wants to unlock it.
“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,” remarked Musk.
In April 2022, when Musk became the second-biggest stakeholder in the company, CEO Parag Agrawal offered Musk to be a part of the board, which the Tesla CEO rejected without really stating the reason. Speculations are that Elon Musk always had an eye on holding a 100 percent stake in the company.
The ultimate goal for Musk is free speech on Twitter. “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,” he comments. “Twitter has tremendous potential I look forward to working with the company and the community of users to unlock it.”
With Musk taking over, users anticipated the removal of spam accounts or spambots from the platform. The much-awaited Edit button is another feature that users are looking forward to. However, the Tesla CEO’s arrival on the scene does not bode well for everyone. From levying fees for blue ticks to changing regulations on the platform, some users are watching the changes with trepidation.
Musk believes Twitter has a lot of potential and he wants to unlock them all. “This is not a way to sort of make money. My strong intuitive sense is that having a public platform that is maximally trusted and broadly inclusive is extremely important,” he said during the TED 2022 conference in Vancouver. Musk said that Twitter should be more open source as “there’s no sort of behind-the-scenes manipulation, either algorithmically or manually.”
After almost half a year of owning Twitter, Musk has faced much backlash for trying to change the platform. In December 2022, a Twitter poll was conducted to assess the user opinion on whether he should step down from the helm of the social network, in a referendum that Musk had promised to follow after broad criticism of his stewardship of the company.
Following the poll’s close, Musk’s tweets notably did not make any mention of leaving his “chief Twit” role or who he would name as a successor. And he appeared to be hedging in some tweet replies to users saying he should redo the poll.
As Musk keeps drawing Twitter into more uncertainty, the users are questioning his effectiveness as CEO of two large technology companies, wondering whether he can effectively serve in both roles at once in addition to being head of the rocket company SpaceX.
“Those who want power are the ones who least deserve it,” Musk tweeted late Sunday, as millions of users voted and the poll trended toward his stepping down.