Why does it matter that Elon Musk bought Twitter?


Elon Musk’s 44 billion dollar purchase of Twitter was officially completed, as of last night. The completion of the Twitter deal comes after months of legal trouble, due to Musk’s indecisiveness, and his attempt to go back on the deal. Despite being a billionaire, this deal comes at a steep price for Musk, as he is currently paying interest on 12.5 billion dollars in loans he took out to pay for Twitter. 

With this purchase, Twitter’s current Board of Directors will be dissolved, and Musk will have the power to appoint new members that agree with his policies. A handful of Twitter’s top executives were already fired on Thursday, immediately after Musk took the reins.

Throughout this process, Musk has declared himself a “free speech absolutist,” and made a promise to allow former president Donald Trump to return to Twitter. Trump, who was banned from Twitter in January of 2021, is expected to make a return, with no limitations on what he could say. Issues could arise with Musk’s new free speech policy, such as the spread of misinformation, as well as hate speech. Because what people say will be protected, it will become harder for the site to identify misinformation without encroaching on its users’ new rights. Hate speech will also be harder to regulate with Musk’s new policy.

Musk’s decision to make Twitter a private company means that he does not have to share the changes he is making to the company with the shareholders or the general public. This means that Musk has complete control over the content and use of Twitter, and can change almost anything he wants, without its users knowing.

Other changes involve the halting of advertisements on the site—which will likely lead to a loss in profit—and the looming threat of massive layoffs for current Twitter employees.

Twitter, which already has a reputation for being an abhorrent corner of the internet, may become even more undesirable because of Musk’s various policy changes. People having unrestricted access to condemn whomever they want and make any number of unsubstantiated claims means that Twitter could lose its last shred of reliability. Musk’s new Twitter regime promises a future for the company that strips it of its respectability and accountability, and threatens to destroy any enjoyment left on the site.