Elon Musk bought all shares of Twitter for $44 billion

Musk’s idea for Twitter to have an open-source algorithm is to allow each individual to change their algorithm at their own will.

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Businessman Elon Musk bought Twitter in April.

Twitter is a social media platform where users can read, write, and interact. Since 2013, it has been a  publicly owned company where anyone can purchase stock. However, Elon Musk, a well-known businessman as the CEO of Tesla, spent months buying stock to eventually buy out the company for $44 billion.

April 25th is the date that Twitter was bought out for $54.20 per share of stock. The purchase was necessary for Musk to have complete power over what his vision of the company would look like in terms of the following requests. It can affect all Twitter users throughout the world.

Musk is a successful man with an already flourishing career as an entrepreneur and a CEO of companies such as SpaceX and Tesla, Inc. He has contributed much to society in the realm of science and math, so why would he buy Twitter of all companies?

He plans to make Twitter an open space for free speech. The means of his purchase will lead to profit, but, for the most part, it is a purchase on principle. In a TED interview, Musk said, “it’s just really important that people have both the reality and the perception that they are able to speak freely within the bounds of the law.”

The new owner of Twitter claims to be in the middle of the political spectrum. He is admittedly an independent, neither republican nor democrat. While he does not agree completely with either political party, he believes that both should be equal in how they are represented.

Musk’s views on censorship have stayed the same: minimal censorship, so long as the law allows. This means that Musk wants Twitter to be a space where all kinds of people could share their opinions without interfering with the law, no matter how popular or unpopular they may be.

It seems the 21st century businessman has similar views to the enlightenment writer and philosopher, François-Marie Arouet. Commonly known as Voltaire, his approach to tolerance of free speech can be seen today in Musk’s viewpoints. This assumption references the famous Voltaire quote: “I may not agree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” 

On the long list of possibilities for Twitter’s new features is an open-source algorithm. The algorithm determines what is featured on Twitter using a specific computer code. This computer code not only increases the chances of seeing a certain tweet, but it can also decrease the chances of someone’s tweet being showcased. 

Musk’s idea for Twitter to have an open-source algorithm is to allow each individual to change their algorithm at their own will. If implemented, people could control what they see. The new adjustment lends a hand in preventing manipulation of the code from a select few people with similar ideals, and instead puts it in the hands of the user. 

An idea being proposed for the Twitter makeover is an edit button for tweets. A concern is that when a person changes a tweet after having replies and retweets, the retweet would no longer match the views that someone who commented or retweeted agreed with. Yet, the idea is still plausible with minor adjustments, such as a time limit for quick changes, so it would be less likely for anyone to comment or retweet in the allotted time.  

Spambots have played roles in collecting data and sending messages for hacking purposes. Social media companies ranging from Instagram to Twitter have made an effort to mitigate these spambots.

By finding the characteristics of spambots and generalizing them enough to work the code into the system that would ban them immediately, the spambot elimination could be possible. However, if the classifications are not specific enough, real accounts could be caught in the crossfire and be banned for resembling spambot accounts.

Due to the risk of banning spambots on a wide scale, it is also Musk’s plan to authenticate all accounts made by real people. The only way for this to be accomplished is by having all accounts verify their email or phone number, which could decrease the number of spam accounts greatly.  

The Pascack Hills community consists of many teenagers and adults who use Twitter. Although there is no way to know which of  Musk’s requests from his list will be implemented, Hills students shared their thoughts on his purchase. 

The open-source algorithm allows everyone a fair chance to get their opinions out or their voices heard. ”

— Zeynep Isler, Hills freshman

Hills freshman Zeynep Isler said that “changing the guidelines gives people the chance of free speech without the fear of getting their post taken down or their account being banned. Plus, the open-source algorithm allows everyone a fair chance to get their opinions out or their voices heard.”

On the other hand, Laila Collas, another freshman, introduced a different perspective on the free speech initiatives.

“It’s important our freedom of speech is protected, though with dangerous people out there and with a platform as large and powerful as Twitter, it can get quite messy and sadly be used for the wrong things.”

It’s important our freedom of speech is protected, though with dangerous people out there and with a platform as large and powerful as Twitter, it can get quite messy and sadly be used for the wrong things.”

— Laila Collas, Hills freshman

Musk has contributed several technological advancements to the world, and is now making Twitter a platform where people can contribute their opinions to make advancements in how others communicate, judge, and perceive people and their thoughts. The current questions regarding if his ideas are right or wrong can only be answered with time to see how the experiment concludes: good, bad, or just new.    

Sources:

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/technology/why-did-elon-musk-buy-twitter/ar-AAWzGYg 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2022/04/16/elon-musk-twitter-algorithm/ 

https://observer.com/2022/05/what-will-elon-musk-do-with-twitter-here-is-a-6-point-guide/