On April 5, Elon Musk caused a storm on social media. But this time it wasn’t one of his tweets that caused the internet to blow up, but rather news involving the Tesla CEO himself. The news was that Musk was supposed to join the Twitter board of directors. What happened next? Musk decided not to join. But in between the two announcements, and even post the latter, there has been a lot of talk about why Musk is so obsessed with Twitter.
Elon Musk set to join Twitter?
Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal had said in a tweet “I’m excited to share that we’re appointing @elonmusk to our board! Through conversations with Elon in recent weeks, it became clear to us that he would bring great value to our Board.” He then went on to welcome Musk, saying “He’s both a passionate believer and intense critic of the service which is exactly what we need on @Twitter, and in the boardroom, to make us stronger in the long-term.”
Following this news, Elon Musk became Twitter’s largest shareholder virtually overnight! However, not more than a week after this huge milestone for the social media company, Musk decided not to join. Scheduled to be appointed to Twitter’s prestigious board of directors on April 9, Elon Musk said he "will no longer be joining the board."
Now Musk has surprised everyone yet again by offering to buy Twitter for $54.20 per share! For people speculating whether more surprises were yet to come, he also went on to say that this was his “best and final offer. I am not playing the back-and-forth game,” he said. As to why Musk is so hell-bent on having a share of Twitter, there could be several reasons.
Can Elon Musk unlock Twitter’s true potential?
Elon Musk has a net worth of $260 billion. It is not as if him having a share of Twitter is in any way going to add to this figure. But Musk’s communication with the Chairman of the Twitter Board is something that might hold clues as to why he would want to buy the social media company. Musk wrote that in spite of the platform’s transformative potential for free speech, it would “neither thrive nor serve this societal imperative in its current form. Twitter needs to be transformed as a private company.” This might be indicative of Musk seeing a potential in Twitter that hasn’t been delved into yet. With him being the possible owner of the platform, the possibility and freedom of his to bank on this potential would increase, thus pointing the stakes in his favour.
Will Musk’s power increase if he owns Twitter?
If Elon Musk goes through with his plan of buying the platform, and everything does go perfectly, the end result would be a billionaire in control of public opinion. Musk already manages to get a huge effect when he tweets or puts out absolutely any thoughts. With him being completely in charge of the platform, it would be easier to sway the public, their thoughts and their beliefs.
To understand the kind of impact Musk can have on Twitter users, here is an instance. Following Parag Agrawal’s tweet of Musk joining the board of directors, Musk had set up a poll asking his millions of followers if they would like an ‘edit’ button on the platform. If you have ever used Twitter, you’d understand the impact of this request and of having this option on the platform. Parag Agrawal joined in and retweeted this poll going on to say that "the consequences of this poll will be important. Please vote carefully."
These and many other such dramatic changes would be brought into effect if Elon Musk was to own the platform.
Musk reveals reason for wanting to own Twitter
At the TED Conference in Vancouver on April 14, Musk was asked why he wished to buy Twitter and his response was “My strong, intuitive sense is that having a public platform that is maximally trusted and broadly inclusive is extremely important to the future of civilization. But I don’t care about the economics at all.”
He was also vocal about his wishes to allow controversial speech, and that which is in a grey area. Twitter, though a social media platform can shape the way news is put out and the happenings in the world due to the massive 200 million users that it witnesses from all walks of life. Being in charge of a company with such an amount of power would definitely give Musk control over how events are put out and spoken about. It remains to be seen if things will actually shape up and if Elon Musk will be the owner of the giant platform.