Elon Musk suspends purchase of Twitter

Elon Musk once again created a surprise by announcing the suspension of the takeover of Twitter. The richest man in the world says he is awaiting the results of an investigation into the number of fake accounts on the social network.

A twist this Friday, May 13, 2022: Elon Musk has just announced in a tweet that he is immediately suspending the takeover of Twitter. In his message, the multi-billionaire explains that he took this decision following an article by the Reuters agency explaining that spam and fake accounts represent less than 5% of the 229 million users of the social network. The boss of Tesla and SpaceX indicates that he is waiting for more details on the calculation method of the audit carried out by Twitter. Elon Musk has said on several occasions that the fight against fake accounts will be one of his priorities once he owns the social network. On the New York Stock Exchange, Twitter’s stock immediately fell 25% before stabilizing at -20%. but the situation should change very quickly, because the case is particularly sensitive.

The news made headlines when it broke on the evening of Monday, April 25, 2022: after hesitation and negotiation, Twitter’s board of directors accepted Elon Musk’s offer to buy. The richest man in the world will thus become the sole owner of the famous blue bird social network. A communication tool that the billionaire particularly likes by publishing for years often provocative tweets followed and taken up by his 85 million subscribers. However, beyond the financial aspect and the stock market repercussions – the operation still amounts to the tidy sum of 44 billion dollars… – this takeover raises many questions and even worries. Because, as he proclaimed loud and clear, Musk intends to evolve Twitter by freeing it from its shackles with new functions. A revolution that will not be without impact for users.

Elon Musk: an entrepreneur without limits

For those who do not know yet, remember that Elon Musk is neither unknown nor a beginner. With a personal fortune estimated at some $264 billion in 2022, he is officially the richest man in the world. And for good reason: Musk is above all an entrepreneur who succeeds in everything, or almost. This former student of physics and economics got into business very quickly, immediately betting on “new technologies”, and in particular the Internet. In 1995, at age 24, he co-founded Zip2, a company that publishes online content publishing software. Above all, in 1999, he founded X.com, an online bank named which would become PayPal, with the success that we know. In 2002, he created his third company, Space Exploration Technologies, better known as SpaceX, to develop launchers and space vehicles. Finally, since 2008, he controls and directs Tesla, the world-famous car manufacturer of electric cars. At the same time, he leads several innovative projects, including Hyperloop (a very high-speed transport system with capsules in vacuum tunnels), Powerwall (electrical energy storage devices), OpenAI (a research center on intelligence), Neuralink (to connect the brain to integrated circuits in order to merge human and artificial intelligences) or even Starlink (a constellation of approximately 12,000 satellites for Internet access across the entire surface of the planet). So many adventures that make him an emblematic pioneer in the world of new technologies and a visionary guru for many.

Musk and Twitter: the buzz above all

But Elon Musk is not only famous for his entrepreneurial conquests: he is also known for his intensive use of social networks, and in particular of Twitter. A means of communication that he has exploited to the extreme for years, by multiplying provocative and rowdy declarations, with the aim of spreading his theses, shaking up the world of tech and finance, and making the buzz at a lower cost – its companies doing very little “traditional” advertising. He does not hesitate to post mocking and sarcastic tweets – not always in good taste, as evidenced by the recent message where he compared a photo of Bill Gates to the emoji of a pregnant man… – and to castigate others major economic players in the name of the freedom he constantly advocates – freedom of expression and freedom of enterprise. As many criticize him, with some 80 million followers, he uses the social network as a formidable sounding board on a global scale to establish himself as one of the most influential men on the planet. And he intends to drive the point home and go even further by taking full control of Twitter.

Twitter with Musk: towards a revolution?

Created in 2006, Twitter has become in the space of a few years the medium of the media. It is the favorite social network of politicians, journalists, observers, “experts” and “influencers” who use it all day long to disseminate and comment on all kinds of information. But here it is: despite its 436 million monthly active users – including 217 million daily – Twitter has evolved little functionally, especially when compared to tools like Facebook, Instagram or TikTok. In addition, even if he does not do it perfectly, the network moderates his publications, which earned Donald Trump his exclusion in January 2021. And it is on these points that Elon Musk intends to act quickly. The new master of Twitter is indeed ending censorship in the name of absolute freedom of expression, which has many fearing the worst. in the same vein, he said he wanted to make the network’s algorithms open source, so as to make them public, with “full transparency” as to their operation and their limits.

In addition, as he had announced based on a survey carried out directly via the network, he wishes to offer the possibility of modifying tweets after their publication, for example by adding an edit button in the messages. . A function that many users have been asking for for years but that Twitter had always refused to integrate. Indeed, if the edition of a message already published seems legitimate when it is a question of correcting a typo or a spelling, grammar or syntax error, it opens the way to more important and more pernicious modifications as regards the meaning and scope of tweets, especially when they have already been broadcast and taken up on a large scale. The future ex-leaders of Twitter had committed to integrating this possibility soon – without specifying a date – but it is easy to imagine that the arrival of Musk at the helm of the company will speed things up. And that this revolutionary development portends many other novelties.

Takeover of Twitter by Elon Musk: an operation that worries

If we still don’t know the future of Twitter, Musk’s takeover of the network is already causing a stir around the world. Of course, it is first of all the colossal amount and the financial conditions of the operation which are the subject of countless analyzes in the international and French press, as evidenced by the articles published in Le Figaro, Les Échos, L ‘Obs, Strategies or Courrier International, not to mention sites and news channels such as BFMTV, Franceinfo or France 24. But as soon as the official announcement was made, many voices were raised around the world to question the intentions of the new owner and the future of the social network, in media such as Arte.tv. Liberation or Le Monde, as on social networks, of course.

One thing is certain: if he is keen on technologies and economy, Elon Musk is not a disinterested philanthropist. And the takeover of Twitter, largely financed by its own funds, must serve its interests. Many see it as an act of political significance, Twitter being a medium with a global reach that can serve as a sounding board for dubious, even dangerous ideologies, under the guise of freedom of expression – and this, even if Donald Trump has declared that he does not want return to the network. In fact, like other billionaires such as Jeff Bezos, the boss of Amazon who owns the famous Washington Post, Elon Musk has offered himself an information tool allowing him to direct the news and to mount subjects. and thereby influence both public opinion and investors. A weapon all the more formidable as the richest man in the world has said that he wanted to get Twitter out of the stock market, therefore from the control of other shareholders.

The use that will be made of the data collected – information that is used for advertising targeting of users to finance services, as on other free platforms – raises questions, even if Brussels has already recalled that Elon Musk’s Twitter will have to comply with European rules, in particular with regard to the Digital Services Act (DSA) which will soon come into force in Europe. Even current Twitter employees are worried about the network’s direction and Musk’s methods, as reported by The Verge.

It is understood, the case is hot, and it should remain in the spotlight for a while yet. Of course, nothing should change immediately for Twitter users. But the situation could change quickly, depending on Musk’s decisions and the network’s new possibilities. And we can imagine that some – a lot? – will think about abandoning this unique tool, if the situation takes a direction contrary to their convictions. One thing is certain, however: Elon Musk has made the biggest “coup” of his career by making the buzz around the world, the operation and its possible consequences occupying all the media space for 24 hours. An indisputable success, as the billionaire likes them!

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