Why Elon Musk is a digital citizen

What if one of the world’s most important tools for information is owned by a millionaire billionaire who can do whatever he wants with it?

Yes, I’m talking about Elon Musk’s offer to buy Twitter for himself, which he published on Thursday. His offer is worth more than $ 43 billion, which is a lot of money, even for Tesla’s chief executive and SpaceX owner Mask. (Musk’s letter to buy Twitter states that his purchase will be conditional on seeking help to pay for the acquisition. No word on where the money will come from.)

Will Musk really have the cash and attention to follow through with his proposed acquisition and will Twitter say yes? Who knows? The word “unexpected” does not do justice to the moment. We’re already in Week 2 of Mask and Twitter’s very public and rocky romance and more weirdness could come.

But imagine Musk finally buying Twitter from the stockholders who own it today. The closest comparisons may be made between 19th-century newspaper barons such as William Randolph Hearst, Joseph Pulitzer, and the fictional Charles Foster, who used their papers to pursue their personal agendas, stir up world events, and harass their enemies.

Why not a citizen of our digital age, but can be a mask. And Twitter’s global influence is arguably larger and more powerful than any Hearst newspaper of its day.

Jeff Bezos’ The Washington Post and Rupert Murdoch’s News Media Empire Shopping Close, perhaps, but it will be a milestone: 21st Century Tech Baron’s purchase of a globally important digital platform aimed at restoring it to his image. .

Eric Gordon, a professor at the University of Michigan Business School at Michigan, told me, “He will be a throwback to the Press Barons in their ‘Citizen Why’ days, using their newspaper to advance their cause.

Musk’s favorite idea is a Twitter account that manages the way he uses Twitter: no barriers. He imagined a social network, by him, transformed into a paragon of expression without theoretical boundaries.

It’s basically former President Donald J. Trump has the same pitch for his app, Truth Social. Several other social media sites have promised to create Internet rallies without the arbitrary rules imposed by companies such as Twitter, Google and Facebook. But compared to Twitter, those sites are relatively small and unimportant.

The proposed purchase of Mask’s Twitter will be a real-world test on a parallel social media app, without limiting what people can do or say. I don’t know what it will look like when applied.

True society does not allow the expression of absolute freedom. Very few people want to block their social media feeds with cryptocurrencies, terrorist recruitment pitches or spammy advertisements for harassing children. No one is sure that a Twitter that is not responsible to anyone else but will be like Musk. (An interesting question: will Musk restore Trump’s Twitter account?)

I’m also wondering if the mask actually wants Be the owner of Twitter. It’s funny to imagine what you would do if you were the boss of Twitter, but it’s not so much fun to be the boss of Twitter. See Mark Zuckerberg running Facebook. The guy doesn’t seem to be joking.

Bloomberg opinion writer Matt Levine said in a startling column on Tuesday, “My guess is that Mask enjoys being able to tell Twitter what to do and doesn’t really think much about doing it.”

If Twitter were only owned by Mask, he wouldn’t have to worry about stock price volatility or shareholder claims, as Zuckerberg did. But this does not mean that musk will be free from annoyance.

When you own a powerful Internet site, you may receive threats from the Russian government to imprison your employees for posts they do not like, or a family member may ask why a stalker is allowed to harass them in their private messages. Kasturi may not want to deal with the ugly details of owning a tool of global influence, but he will have no choice but to own Twitter.

I wish we had a small measure of compassion for Twitter executives and managers. They are in an impossible situation. (The company says its board will “carefully review” Mask’s proposal and decide what it believes is in the best interests of Twitter and its stockholders.)

Twitter’s board of directors may agree to Musk’s proposal, and may decide that finding cash to buy Twitter and turning it into a fictitious free-speech haven is not a great use of money, time and energy. Then, there will be a priceless acquisition proposal on Twitter, the company’s share price will probably tank, and angry stockholders will likely sue the board.

Twitter’s board can’t tell Mask the theory that the company has a long-term plan that would make it more valuable than what Mask is offering. In that case, Musk says, he could sell billions of dollars in Twitter shares he recently bought. Twitter’s stock price is likely to tank, and angry stockholders are likely to sue the board.

Twitter’s relatively new chief executive, Parag Agarwal, may prefer to have his toenails cut off rather than deal with a few weeks of messy drama about the mask. Maybe it’s not good for Mask to get involved in messy drama on Twitter – although… OK, he does it in his spare time.

What if Kasturi achieves what he wants? If you haven’t seen it, I won’t ruin the “Citizen Why” movie, but here is the short version: Why did he achieve his biggest dreams and he was disappointed.

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