Daily Column – 5th April 2022

After purchasing a 9.2 percent investment in Twitter on March 14, Elon Musk, the world’s richest man, has become the company’s largest outside stakeholder. After the transaction was reported yesterday, Twitter shares jumped 27%, implying Musk had profited more than $1 billion on paper in just a few weeks.

Doesn’t he have enough on his plate already?

Probably, but Musk is Twitter-obsessed. With a nonstop onslaught of corporate announcements, NSFW memes, and social commentary about Berlin nightlife, he delights (and irritates) his 80+ million followers.

Musk has also commented on Twitter’s business approach, in addition to his usual tweets. He’s polled his followers to see if they believe Twitter upholds free speech values or if the company should open-source its algorithm. He was once perplexed that Twitter was devoting engineering efforts to NFT integrations rather than fighting crypto criminals.

Because of the ongoing focus on Twitter’s product, experts believe Musk’s investment isn’t merely a way to add to his $273 billion fortune. It could be the start of a wider push to seize control of Twitter, such as a takeover down the road.

What does this signify in terms of Twitter?

The fact that the company’s worth increased by more than a quarter the day Musk announced his ownership indicates that investors are anticipating a shift. Because, despite its cultural significance, Twitter has always been a minor-league player in terms of revenue. Consider: Parag Agrawal, the company’s new CEO, wants to reach $7.5 billion in annual revenue by the end of 2023. Meanwhile, YouTube alone made $8.6 billion in the fourth quarter of 2021.

In the end, we don’t know what Musk has planned for Twitter. However, if he tries to impose a more laissez-faire approach to content regulation, he would run afoul of social media’s expanding crackdown on disinformation and hate speech—and risk inflaming regulators even more.

Musk, on the other hand, seems content to play the troll for the time being. He polled Twitter users last night, asking if they wanted an edit button. “Yse” and “On” are the two alternatives.

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