What Comes Next
The world’s richest man, Elon Musk, has closed on his $44 billion deal to purchase social media giant Twitter (TWTR). He’s taking the company private, and the New York Stock Exchange suspended the trading of shares on Friday.
Analysts say Musk faces a monumental task in turning around what many consider to be a troubled asset. Some argue he overpaid significantly, and legal proceedings were pending after the Tesla (TSLA) chief attempted to abandon the transaction altogether.
But, now that the deal is complete, Musk will attempt to mold Twitter as he sees fit. He’s suggested his first step may be hiring new engineers as opposed to managers. This shift in management and focus has alarmed the existing workforce, with an open letter of employee demands already circulating internally.
Priorities and Pitfalls
Some of Musk’s changes have already taken place, such as the firing of CEO Parag Agrawal, CFO Ned Segal, and Vijaya Gadde, who oversaw legal, policy, and trust.
In terms of what’s still to come, Musk has repeatedly said he intends to protect free speech on Twitter, referring to it as “the digital town square”. He wants to defeat fake accounts — also known as bots — and spam posts.
Regulators, however, pose a potential hurdle: the European Union’s Commissioner for the Internal Market already issued a warning that Musk’s free bird must “fly by their rules”. Under the EU’s new Digital Services Act, companies that allow the posting of illegal content can face fines as high as 6% of their annual global revenue.
Solve for X
The future of the platform may go beyond more engineers and less moderation. Musk’s acquisition is reportedly the next step in creating his “everything app”, X.
The history of X dates back to 1999, when Musk co-founded online bank X.com, which later merged with the company that became PayPal (PYPL). Musk repurchased and relaunched the domain in 2017, which now hosts a blank webpage with a single lowercase “x” in one corner.
There are few hints as to the famous meme enthusiast’s plans for the future of X. Regarding Twitter, however, we know he wants to grow to one billion monthly users, more than double its estimated 450 million currently. Musk wants Twitter to follow the flight patterns of China’s massively popular WeChat (TCEHY) — saying that would make for a “great success.”
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