Tech

What the hell is going on with Musk and Twitter?

After enjoying a cat and mouse recreation with Twitter’s board seat, Elon Musk declared his ambition to purchase 100% of the corporate’s shares yesterday.

Later, at TED 2022 in Vancouver, the Tesla CEO mentioned that his intention to take over Twitter isn’t pushed by financial motives.

On the identical time, Twitter’s board of administrators is contemplating its choices to counter Musk’s bid.

Loads’s been occurring within the Twitter-Musk universe prior to now week, and issues are transferring at a frantic tempo, so we’ll attempt to break down what’s occurred until now, and what are the probabilities going ahead.

The sport of the board seat

The story kicked off final week, with Musk disclosing that he’s purchased 9.2% shares in Twitter. The corporate’s CEO Parag Agrawal mentioned that the SpaceX founder will be a part of the social community’s board, with a situation that may stop him from shopping for greater than 14.9% shares.

This situation modified over the weekend, with Musk tweeting a ton of ideas for the service, together with eradicating ‘w’ from its title, and turning its San Francisco headquarters right into a shelter.

Later, he declared that he received’t be a part of Twitter’s board, adopted by an Agrawal’s tweet that contained a memo to staff with some snarky sentences.

The language used within the memo, particularly phrases like “contingent to a background verify” and “[he] has to behave in the perfect curiosity of the corporate and all our shareholders” raised eyebrows.

The bid and the rationale

Yesterday, in an SEC submitting, Musk provided to purchase 100% of Twitter for $54.20 a share (sure, I additionally noticed that 420). He mentioned the value is 54% premium over the closing value on January 28, after which he started shopping for the corporate’s shares.

I do know regulatory filings could be actually boring, however you need to learn this one. Why wouldn’t you learn a doc which has phrases that sound like Taylor Swift’s music lyrics: “I’m not enjoying the back-and-forth recreation” and “I’ve moved straight to the tip.”

Jokes apart, within the submitting, Musk mentioned with out taking the corporate non-public, “it’s merely not a great funding with out the modifications that must be made.” Thoughts you, indicating that he may promote his stake, if he doesn’t get to purchase the entire bunch.

Later, talking at TED 2022 held in Vancouver, the PayPal co-founder cleared his intentions about shopping for Twitter, and what he wished to do with it.

In reply to the query about why he made the bid, he mentioned he wished it to turn into an “inclusive area free of charge speech.”

“Twitter has turn into type of the de facto city sq.. So it’s simply actually essential that individuals have each the fact and the notion that they’re in a position to communicate freely inside the bounds of the regulation,” Musk mentioned.

One of many main modifications he needs to execute is to make Twitter’s algorithm open-source and host it on GitHub. Plus, he needs the social community to publish all actions taken on a tweet, so there’s no “behind the scenes manipulation, algorithmically or manually.”

Musk has lengthy advocated a “free speech” mannequin on social networks — particularly Twitter. However his concept of the idea is murky. It might probably allude to an ideology that permits you to tweet something so long as it’s not unlawful.

The definition of content material’s legality modifications per nation and per area. And a few governments may prohibit social networks to publish the rationale why a bit of content material was taken down. An open-source codebase can’t do something about that.

Certain, algorithms play a component in surfacing sure sorts of posts. However making them clear doesn’t at all times resolve issues of misinformation and moderation in numerous languages.

Musk additionally talked about that purchasing out Twitter is just not a money-minded transfer:

My robust intuitive sense is that having a public platform that’s maximally trusted and broadly inclusive is extraordinarily essential.

If we take a look at the historical past of social networks, individuals flocked to a platform as a result of they loved the format, and trusted its operators at some stage.

However as a service grows, it has to face totally different challenges like misinformation and hate speech. So it’s extremly tough to construct a platform that pleases a big chunk of its viewers about its speech insurance policies.

Musk talked about that it’s potential he might not have the ability to purchase the platform in spite of everything. That brings us to what the board is considering the world’s richest man’s bid.

What’s forward for Twitter?

After Musk’s bid, Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal-led Kingdom Holding Firm tweeted that the bid was underpriced.

In response, the Tesla CEO was swift in asking in regards to the Kingdom’s possession of Twitter, and its views on journalistic freedom of speech.

In line with a report from The Data, the board considers Musk’s supply an unwelcome one. They’re probably getting ready some ways to battle this bid, together with a poison capsule protection, as famous by Bloomberg.

On this tactic, the board gives current shareholders to purchase extra inventory at a reduced value, stopping a hostile takeover.

Whereas this was occurring, asset administration firm Vanguard Group elevated its stake in Twitter to 10.3% — dethroning Musk because the social community’s largest shareholder.

He’s not the one one contemplating a Twitter takeover, although. A report by The New York Submit urged that personal fairness agency Therma Bravo can also be considering about making a bid.

A number of stories urged that Twitter staff are uncomfortable with these developments, and a few are even equating it to a “hostage state of affairs.”

In an all-hands assembly on Thursday, Agrawal tried to reassure them by saying that he feels “every thing would work out because it ought to.”

We are able to certainly anticipate action-packed subsequent few weeks, and hopefully a possible TV present about this saga a number of years down the road.

In the meantime, at TED 2022, Musk talked about that he has a “plan-B” if Twitter rejects his bid. Everybody is perhaps itching to know particulars about it, however I suppose we’ll find out about it from a Twitter ballot, proper?



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