Tesla Twitterstorm – Musk makes Twitter an offer it should refuse

By Tom Flynn

Life moves fast on Twitter. A week ago, the news broke that Elon Musk had amassed a 9.2% share in the social media company, prompting speculation about his intentions. Next, he accepted a seat on the board. Then, he refused it. Yesterday, an investor announced plans to sue Musk for failing to disclose his holding to the SEC within 10 days. And now, the tech billionaire has made an offer to buy the company and take it private.

If Musk is successful, it could have huge implications extending far beyond the Twittersphere. A self-confessed “free speech absolutist”, the controversial SpaceX founder has refused to remove Russian news sources from the Starlink internet system “unless at gunpoint”. In practice, this approach could mean the return of Donald Trump, amongst other controversial figures, to the platform, having been removed in recent years, or the removal of the labels which highlight Russian state media accounts.

What practical changes could everyday users expect? Watch out for Musk claiming credit for the hotly anticipated ‘edit button’ which was already being tested before his intervention, and possibly pushing for an ad-free Twitter based on a subscription model (which he has floated in the past). 

All this however, assumes that Musk is serious. He is, after all, a classic Twitter ‘s***poster’. From wiping $14 billion from the value of Tesla with one tweet, to opposing Covid-19 lockdowns, Musk’s activity on the platform has caused chaos on financial markets and landed him in trouble with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Whilst Musk decides if he really wants to own the social media giant or in fact just get himself in the news, expect chaos for investors, employees, advertisers and, of course, for users.

Twitter has survived and thrived due to its evolutionary development. A Musk-led revolution runs the risk of ruining this flawed but wonderful platform forever.