The world’s richest person, Billionaire Elon Musk of Tesla and SpaceX, has reached a deal to acquire TWITTER for approximately $44 Billion today.
Musk had said he thinks Twitter is not living up to its full potential as a platform for free speech and has been censoring too much. Twitter’s board of directors last week previously enacted an anti-takeover measure that could have made an attempt prohibitively expensive, but over the weekend the board has opened the negotiations when Musk outlines financial bank partners and commitments he had lined up to back his offer.
Just before the stock market on Wall Street closed today, Twitter Inc. accepted Elon Musk’s bid to take over the company, which would give the world’s richest man control over the influential social-media network where he is also among its most powerful users with over 83 million followers.
The deal marks the close of a dramatic courtship and a sharp change of heart at Twitter, where many executives and board members initially opposed Mr. Musk’s takeover approach.
The deal has polarized Twitter employees, users and regulators over the power tech giants wield in determining the parameters of acceptable discourse on the internet and how those companies enforce their rules.
The two sides worked through the night to hash out a deal. The takeover, if it goes through, would mark one of the biggest acquisitions in tech history and will likely have global repercussions for years to come related to how billions of people use social media.
“Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated,” he said.
He also promised other new features, such as “making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating the spam bots and authenticating all humans.”
Mr. Musk, who is also chief executive of Tesla Inc. and Space Exploration Technologies Inc., must find a way to balance his commitment to less moderation with the business needs of a company that has struggled to reconcile free-wheeling conversation with content that appeals to advertisers.
Today Mr. Musk tweeted to indicate that he wants the platform to remain a destination for wide-ranging discourse and disagreement.
“I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter, because that is what free speech means,” he wrote.
Twitter may well become the real place for free speech in America and around the world.