Why Elon Musk is buying Twitter


Mark Zhou

Elon Musk has made a deal to buy Twitter, but no one knows how he will lead the company in its uncertain future.

Mark Zhou, Staff Writer

In early April, the public was surprised when Elon Musk revealed a 9% stake in Twitter’s stocks. Now that Musk and Twitter have agreed to a $44 billion takeover, many are worried about the future of the platform, while others are optimistic about new policies. But, why did Elon Musk buy Twitter in the first place? 

The size of Twitter, the price tag of the deal, and the associations of wealth with Musk make many think he is trying to manipulate stock prices or control the company for profits. Musk has a history of using his influence to manipulate stocks, such as the time he was fined $20 million by the SEC for jokingly tweeting that he would take Tesla private at $420 a share. 

However, at a TED conference, Musk said “I don’t care about economics at all.” This time, the public has reason to believe him.

Twitter’s assets are over 10 billion dollars, but its revenue has long been sporadic and unpredictable, with only two years of profits. In addition, Musk is planning to privatize Twitter stocks, which means he can’t sell them to the public. He does not appear to be looking for money from this takeover. 

The main reason, he says, is to change Twitter’s policies to promote free speech. Musk firmly believes in the importance of free speech and conducted polls in which most of his followers agreed the platform lacks protection of first amendment rights. 

“I think it’s very important for there to be an inclusive arena for free speech. Twitter has become the de facto town square, so it’s really important that people have both the reality and perception that they are able to speak freely within the bounds of the law,” said Musk at the TED conference

The censorship policies Twitter uses have long been controversial. Twitter censors and bans posts of “hateful conduct,” but many have accused the platform of favoring political ideology aligning with its own. 

“For Twitter to deserve public trust, it must be politically neutral, which effectively means upsetting the far right and the far left equally,” tweeted Musk

Musk wants to achieve this by open-sourcing the Twitter feed algorithm, so that there is no behind the scenes manipulation and users can see how a tweet is promoted to their feed. He would relax regulation of posts as long as their content is within the law.

“[Free speech] is important to the function of the United States as a free country, and many other countries, and to help freedom in the world more broadly than the U.S,” said Musk

No one can predict what comes next, but most look forward to seeing what changes Musk can bring.