How the world reacted to $43 billion Twitter bid by Musk: ‘frightened by the…’

  • Tesla chief Elon Musk launched a hostile takeover effort for Twitter on Thursday, insisting the platform needs to be transformed but acknowledging his $43-billion bid may fail.
Tesla chief Elon Musk waving onstage at the TED2022.(AFP)
Tesla chief Elon Musk waving onstage at the TED2022.(AFP)
Published on Apr 15, 2022 10:36 AM IST
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By | Edited by Kunal Gaurav

The speculation about the Tesla CEO Elon Musk's interest in taking over Twitter was always there once the billionaire investor refused a seat on the board, but not many had expected that the offer would come this soon. Musk's shock offer to buy Twitter and take it private drew mixed reactions as the executive, who describes himself as a free-speech absolutist, advocates fewer limits on the type of content posted on the micro-blogging platform.

Many fear a possible lack of accountability and the impact of the social media giant on democracies in case of minimal moderation as they have been struggling to contain hate speech.

"Twitter is too important to be owned and controlled by a single person," tweeted venture capitalist Fred Wilson. "The opposite should be happening. Twitter should be decentralized."

"I am frightened by the impact on society and politics if Elon Musk acquires Twitter," tweeted Max Boot, a Washington Post columnist.

"He seems to believe that on social media anything goes. For democracy to survive, we need more content moderation, not less," Boot added.

Does Elon Musk have the funds to buy Twitter? What's next for social media firm?

There has been a lack of clarity on how Elon Musk would fund the all-cash offer given much of his money is tied up in Tesla stock and SpaceX. While reports suggest that Twitter is evaluating the offer, resistance from shareholders or board members can put Musk's offer in cold storage.

Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has already tweeted against the proposal, saying it's too low.

"I don't believe that the proposed offer by @elonmusk ($54.20) comes close to the intrinsic value of @Twitter given its growth prospects," he tweeted.

The tweet drew a sharp reply from Musk questioning Saudi Arabia's "views on journalistic freedom of speech."

Musk's stance on the approach to policing the platform's content, especially for the highest-profile instances of violations of its terms of services, has been contentious. Former US President Donald Trump has been permanently banned from the platform after his tweets and videos were followed by an insurrection at the US Capitol.

But Trump's supporters have been voicing their outrage over the company's decision.

Without naming the former US President, Musk said he doesn't think "we want to be just very reluctant to delete things and just be very cautious with permanent bans. Timeouts, I think are better."

The supporters of Musk's hostile takeover bid called it the "best news for free speech in years!"

Republican Senator Ted Cruz voiced his backing for less moderation.

"If the left thinks they're right, why are they so terrified of free speech?" he tweeted in reply to Boot's criticism.

(With AFP inputs)

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