It’s the conclusion of a story that we never thought we’d see the end of. Elon Musk, Tesla boss and world’s richest man, has officially taken over Twitter. After months of dithering, changing his mind and legal threats, the whimsical entrepreneur hinted via a cryptic tweet that the agreement had indeed been signed and that Twitter now had a new boss.
Long determined to abandon this takeover, then to renegotiate the sale price, Elon Musk ended up buying the social network at the announced price of 44 billion dollars, which is significantly more than the price on the stock market and “far too expensive” in the words of the new boss. Determined not to be carried around according to the moods of a billionaire, Twitter had taken Musk to court to force him to conclude this takeover at the announced price. The lawsuit did not have terribly started well for Elon Musk or for Twitter and, rather than settling his affairs in court, Musk therefore finalized the takeover and renamed itself “Chief Twit” for the occasion — which means idiot in British English.
What will happen now that Twitter has a new boss?
Elon Musk had warned, to make Twitter a profitable business, the first of these decisions would be to fire 75% of Twitter’s lifeblood. The symbolic dismissals have already begun since Parag Agrawal, the CEO of the social network, was kicked out along with three other prominent figures : the chief financial officer, the head of legal affairs and the legal director. No question for Musk to keep officials who have fought tooth and nail to ruin his life in recent months.
In a second step, the other teams should also see their number greatly reduced, since Elon Musk only wants to keep 2,000 of the 7,500 small hands that Twitter has in its ranks. A good part of these layoffs would also affect the teams responsible for moderation, Musk wanting to make Twitter a haven for American-style freedom of expression.
A relaxation on moderation… and a return of Trump?
Since the beginning of this incredible legal-media story, Elon Musk has always said he wants to make Twitter a place where all opinions are good to verbalize and hear. He even went so far as to say that he would welcome Donald Trump back on the platform, when the latter had been permanently banned following encouraging messages to demonstrate in front of the Capitol. The former president claimed he would not return, preferring to stay on Truth, his copy of home Twitter. Given the very mixed success of his platform, it could be that Trump still wants to recover his millions of subscribers.
In a recent tweet addressed to advertisers and advertising agencies, Musk still put a little water in his wine. He says that despite his position as an absolute defender of freedom of expression “*Twitter obviously cannot become a hell where everything can be said without any consequences! In addition to respecting the laws of the country, our platform must be warm and welcoming for all. *”A way of reassuring investors who do not necessarily want their ads to be displayed next to content calling for hatred. As for Europe, Thierry Breton, Commissioner for the Internal Market, reminded Musk that twitter will have to respect the law, and in particular the DSA which obliges to put in place strict moderation.
The advent of X, Musk’s “super-app”
The takeover of Twitter should also allow Musk to accelerate the development of X, the “super-app” he has wanted to build for a long time. Modeled on China’s WeChat, the idea of developing a do-it-all app that’s a social network, instant chat service, payment platform and more has long intrigued Musk. The advantage of this approach? Gather more people on the platform and therefore have more pairs of eyes to put in front of advertisements.
We still know little about the form that X will take, but Twitter will play it a priori a leading role.