Elon Musk Takes Over Twitter

Ananya V (Year 12), Chief Contributor

Elon Musk is here, to save the Twittersphere. October 27, 2022, marked the most significant change to one of the most used social media platforms. Elon Musk, founder and CEO of SpaceX, CEO of Tesla, and the father to multiple uniquely named children, took over Twitter, and in a typically radical fashion, he has already made some controversial changes.   

Musk claims this takeover is strictly non-financial, and reasons that he has bought the platform to “help humanity, whom I love”. While this is plausible, considering Elon’s multi-billion-dollar bank account, eyebrows have been raised about his own agenda is this $44bn takeover of Twitter. Is he trying to push a political agenda? Is this his first step towards world domination? Why did he walk into Twitter HQ with a sink?  

As of Monday, the 31st, Musk appointed himself as CEO of Twitter, firing the previous board of directors, including CEO Parag Agarwal, CFO Ned Segal and legal affairs and Policy Chief Vijaya Gadde. He then established himself as the sole member, giving him unrestrained control over the platform. He has not only fired the directors, but his team was also considering firing 25% of the company’s workforce in their first round of layoffs, according to the Washington Post.  

Many people reacted to this news with disbelief, as this was the first of the many actions that Musk had done after his acquisition. The Washington Post had also reported earlier that Musk told investors that he planned to eliminate around 75% of the staff to pay down the debt burden; but considering its 7000 employees at the end of 2021, around 5300 employees will be fired. Despite allegedly telling the employees he would not cut that many people, many disgruntled employees have taken to the platform they used to work for, unfurling viral hashtags such as #StopToxicTwitter. Jessica González, co-CEO of the media advocacy group Free Press has said “With today’s mass layoffs, it’s clear that Musk’s actions betray his words,”.  

Although many have criticised these mass layoffs, most users biggest concern is the changes he made to the platform itself. 

Elon has plans to make many changes to the verification ticks and the moderation on Twitter.  Musk’s strong opinions on the meaning of “free speech” led to him say that he will remove the current moderation plans and revamp the moderation council. He recently tweeted, “comedy is now legal on Twitter,” which has left many people concerned about Twitter becoming a platform for extremist profiles. Many extremism groups who were previously banned are praising Musk for his new leadership changes, doing so while circulating many racist slurs and Nazi imagery. Musk has also pledged to reinstate Former US President Donald Trump on Twitter, but Trump had replied, “I like Elon, but I’m staying on Truth,” in his Friday interview with Fox News.  

In light of the laxation of Twitter moderation, many countries, such as those of the EU and India had said that they are going to impose an additional council on Twitter to regulate the app.  

Now let’s talk verification ticks. Initially, Twitter released them as a way of dealing with imposter accounts, verifying popular users to ensure legitimacy. Musk, however, has criticised this as a “lords and peasants’ system”. Considering this, he revealed that he has plans to allow any person on Twitter to become verified, for the price of about 8 USD per month. This means that many people in our school could have a verification next to their name. Recent reports from Twitter reveal that it may be around USD $17 to $20 per month, as it would be included in its premium package, which is only going to get more expensive.  

His idea of the Twitter verification revamps involved having a “priority in replies, mentions and search, which is essential to defeat spam/scam,” as said on his account, fewer ads, “Paywall bypass,” and the ability to post longer videos and audio.  

Honestly, while these changes may seem minute, they will surely spiral into platforms beyond just Twitter.  Who knows what might happen to other social media platforms, but it sure will be a wild ride. Now, who is going to get verified?