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  • Haley Richardson, UCTech

So Elon Musk Bought Twitter. Now What?

As of October 27, 2022, Elon Musk owns Twitter. Ever since then, the internet has seemingly erupted, which begs the question: how did we get here?

Elon Musk has been a controversial figure since he first entered the public eye. Born to parents Errol and Maye Musk on June 28, 1971, in Pretoria, South Africa, Musk demonstrated an interest in technology at an early age, developing and selling his first video game at 12 years old. His entrepreneurial tendencies continued to grow as he aged, with him starting the company Zip2 in 1995, which sold maps and directories to online newspapers. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania with degrees in economics and physics, Musk started the financial services company, which would eventually merge with another company and become PayPal as it is known today. Alongside his interest in business, Musk had always been fascinated by space exploration and the idea of humans becoming a “multi-planet species.” This idea led him to start the company that launched him into the public eye: Space Exploration Technologies, otherwise known as SpaceX, a company that specialized in making more cost-efficient rockets. Two years after the foundation of SpaceX, Musk became involved in Tesla Motors, which made electric cars. He began as a founder before being named CEO in 2008. Throughout his rapidly changing career paths, Musk has shown a continued interest in the powers of the Internet, especially when it came to social media. He joined Twitter in 2009, officially kicking off his history with the platform.

Twitter was founded in 2006 as a platform for people to publicly send short messages to each other, a practice comparable to texting. Throughout his time on Twitter, Musk has been a very popular user of the app, with a total of 115.3 million followers as of November 2022. In general, Musk is a very vocal person and was not shy to voice his issues with the platform. Starting in 2018, he began playing with the idea of buying Twitter, making seemingly joking remarks online about purchasing the platform and making it a private company. However, his lighthearted tone shifted come January of 2022, when he began buying Twitter shares, and by March, he owned approximately 5% of the company.

Owning shares in a company makes an individual a shareholder. This role allows the individual to have voting power in the company, letting them voice their opinions to the company’s board of directors. The board of directors is responsible for overseeing company management, but their biggest job is to satisfy shareholders. Since the directors are elected by shareholders, this often leads to their putting shareholders’ interests above their own. When Musk became a shareholder, he had some sway over Twitter, which would only expand going forward.

After compiling his stake in the company, Musk began speaking with Twitter’s chief executive officer (CEO) about potentially joining the board of directors. Later reports revealed that Musk also brought up creating a different social media platform as Twitter’s competition or making Twitter a private company, which could provide numerous benefits, such as no longer having to comply with regulatory requirements, or possible consequences, such as no longer being able to trade on markets like the New York Stock Exchange. By early April, Musk had increased his stake in Twitter to 9%, owning 73.5 million shares worth $3 billion, and was then offered a seat on the board, provided he did not buy more than 14.9% of the company’s stock. This offer was quickly rescinded by Twitter’s CEO Parag Agrawal after Musk released a tweet asking, “Is Twitter dead?” This setback did not deter Musk, though, as he offered to buy Twitter for $44 billion three days later, much to Twitter’s management’s dismay.

The deal was first sealed on April 25, with Musk agreeing to buy Twitter for $44 billion and make it a private company. Additionally, he revealed his interest in purchasing the platform, citing his reason as wanting to maximize Twitter’s potential as a platform for free speech. Over the next few weeks, Musk also stated that he planned to remove the ban placed on Donald Trump after the insurrection on January 6, 2021, because he thought it was an immoral decision. This statement begs the question of how Musk can claim to want to make Twitter an app specifically for free speech, yet allow someone notorious for using it for hate speech and spreading false information back onto the platform. In the weeks following this announcement, Musk has since proclaimed that he will allow all previously banned Twitter accounts back onto the platform, much to the confusion of the general public. Before Musk bought Twitter, an account could only be banned if the user violated Twitter’s rules or demonstrated abusive, violent, or harmful behavior in their tweets. Once these previously banned accounts are allowed back on the app, it will certainly be interesting to see what kind of messaging is seen on it.

More issues began to arise in May 2022 when Musk announced that he was temporarily halting his deal with Twitter due to the number of spam accounts on the platform. This situation worsened in June when he accused Twitter of withholding information about bots he had asked for, resulting in Musk threatening to withdraw from their deal. On July 12, Twitter sued Musk for trying to break their agreement, and Musk countersued. One week later, a Delaware judge set a trial date for October 2022. Over the following months, Musk went back and forth with Twitter until finalizing their deal and purchasing Twitter on October 28, 2022. At this point, many thought the situation was resolved and were anxious to see Musk’s plans for the app put in motion. Upon the release of his first updates, chaos broke out once more.

Up until this point, Twitter, like all social media platforms, has been free to use. Musk, however, aims to change that, offering verification of accounts for $8.00 a month, which would allow users access to Twitter Blue. It is important to note that Twitter Blue was established before Musk gained control of Twitter, but did not lock features that were previously free, unlike today’s Twitter Blue. Many users were especially frustrated by the fact that the “edit tweet” feature was now included in Twitter Blue, and no longer free. Musk continued his purchase through mass layoffs mere days before the U.S. midterm elections. Many of those let go held jobs in public policy, engineering, communications, human resources, trust and safety, and marketing.

As of November 2022, it is unclear how the future of Twitter and Musk’s involvement with the platform will unfold, but at this moment in time, the public sentiment displays dissatisfaction with the app’s new direction and further concern over what Musk’s “free speech” intentions will entail.

Works Cited:

Dumont, Marvin. “Why Public Companies Go Private.” Investopedia, Investopedia, 12 May


“Elon Musk Claims He's Buying Twitter to 'Help Humanity'.” BBC News, BBC, 27 Oct. 2022,

Feuer, Alan, et al. “New Focus on How a Trump Tweet Incited Far-Right Groups Ahead of Jan.

6.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 29 Mar. 2022,

“Get on Board: Understanding the Role of Corporate Directors.” Get On Board: Understanding

The Role of Corporate Directors |,,corporate%20activities%20and%20assessing%20performance.

Press, The Associated. “Timeline of Billionaire Elon Musk's Bid to Control Twitter.” AP NEWS,

Associated Press, 28 Oct. 2022,

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