Musk buys Twitter: What he wants to change – and how the founder reacts

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Elon Musk wants to transform Twitter. The employees and the founder react with a mixture of applause and fear

With the purchase by Elon Musk, a lot will change on Twitter

© Patrick Pleul / Picture Alliance

After a short process, Elon Musk has now bought Twitter. And already explained how he wants to change the short message service. This is met with mixed feelings from employees and founder Jack Dorsey.

So now he’s really done it: After a few weeks of cautious approach, Elon Musk bought the short message service Twitter – for 44 billion dollars. The exact idea behind it is probably only known to Musk himself. But he quickly made it clear that something will change on Twitter. In the company, the new owner and his vision are controversial.

If you believe Musk, he is primarily concerned with one thing: freedom of speech. Twitter is supposed to be a bulwark of free speech. “Freedom of expression is the foundation of a functioning democracy. And Twitter is the digital marketplace where matters important to the future of mankind are debated,” he said in a statement accompanying his purchase announcement. But first you have to get Twitter on track.

Twitter: Musk is planning these changes

He wanted to make Twitter better, Musk introduced his list of changes. To this end, he has already considered a number of concrete measures. The aim is to increase the quality of debates by reducing the large number of automated users, so-called bots. He also wanted to remove the anonymity of the service. “I want to authenticate everyone there,” Musk said confidently. Finally, by disclosing the recommendation algorithm as open source programs, Musk explained that greater trust in the service should be achieved.

The changes are consistent with Musk’s previous statements. The Tesla boss had announced in the past that he was a “freedom of expression absoluteist”, and he called attempts by the US Securities and Exchange Commission to limit his Twitter behavior due to possible stock market manipulation as a restriction on his freedom of speech. Because Musk repeatedly attacked other people on Twitter and sometimes seriously insulted them, it can be assumed that such statements will also be allowed there in the future as part of freedom of speech.

Controversial on Twitter

Musk’s new company isn’t sure how to take the news yet. At a meeting of the employees, CEO Parag Agrawal is said to have assured that there were no acute plans for termination. Otherwise he couldn’t calm the unsettled employees any further. there will “certainly be changes,” Agrawal said, but he doesn’t know the extent or direction. “We don’t know what direction the company will take under Musk,” he admitted.

So it is not surprising that the employees are very worried about the future course. “It could be a very different company that we then work for,” feared an employee to the “New York Times”. Musk’s personality and attitudes are of course known within the company. And split the workforce. In an internal Twitter poll for the anonymous tool “Blind”, 44 percent of the participants were neutral towards Musk, and 27 percent each said they loved or hated him.

Above all, Musk’s penchant for freedom of expression divides the company. Some employees told the newspaper that Twitter had slid too far to the left of the political spectrum in its moderation efforts. They are hoping for a correction from Musk. Others see the notorious troll Musk and his extreme interpretation of freedom of expression as a danger: They suspect that extremists and users who enjoy bullying could feel encouraged by the new freedom – and thus threaten to oust more moderate users from the platform.

The Twitter founder sees Musk on the right track

Jack Dorsey, Twitter founder and until recently CEO, was surprisingly clear behind Musk. “Delisting the company is the correct first step,” he commented in a lengthy thread. Twitter was dominated by the stock market and advertising revenue, now it can function free of the constraints of a company. “It should be a public good, not a company,” Dorsey says.

Above all, he wants the opportunity to exchange ideas as freely and as diversely as possible. That’s exactly what the new owner also cares about, he believes. And expresses his trust in him surprisingly clearly: “As long as it has to be a company, Elon is the only solution I trust.”

Sources: New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Jack Dorsey (Twitter)

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