Could it finally be coming to an end – and could we finally get to see what comes next for Twitter under Elon Musk?
According to a new report from Bloomberg, Musk has today informed banks that are helping to fund his $44 billion Twitter acquisition that he plans to close the deal by this Friday, ending months of damaging back and forth for the company.
As per Bloomberg:
“The banks, which are providing $13 billion of debt financing, have finished putting together the final credit agreement and are in the process of signing the documentation, one of the last steps before actually sending the cash to Musk, said the people, who asked not to be named discussing a private transaction.”
That could bring a close to six months of an increasingly ugly, and public takeover battle - which was mostly, really, just Musk fighting against himself.
Musk initially tendered his $44 billion offer for the app back in May, before reneging on that initial deal, then launching legal action to stop himself from having to pay up. That finally came to an end recently with Musk agreeing to pay – even though he does think that he’s now significantly overpaying for the app.
Though again, the reason that he’s overpaying is largely because he’s raised significant doubts about Twitter’s internal workings, and the numbers it reports to the market, with Musk’s lawyers accusing Twitter’s exec team of lying about many elements of the platform’s performance, which has effectively tanked the stock.
But never fear - according to Musk, he has a plan, and a strategy to take Twitter from a ‘languishing’ asset to a social media powerhouse.
Though no one has any clue what that plan is.
Musk has alluded to providing new subscription options, taking the company private, eliminating bots, open-sourcing feed algorithms, and various other ways to make Twitter great again.
More recently, Musk has also hinted at new video elements, including new monetization options for anyone who uploads a video to the app. Twitter does already have both pre and mid-roll video ad options for monetization, but they’re only available to select publishing partners, and it seems that Musk will look to expand this, which could also align with his previous comments around making the app ‘more like TikTok’. Like every other social platform at present.
But it’s his approach to ‘free speech’, and what Twitter may soon allow as a result, that has people the most concerned.
Last week, Musk tweeted out memes in which he joked about joining forces with right-wing social apps Parler and Truth Social, and while they are just jokes, Musk’s actual statements around his stance on such are concerning.
Twitter should be as broadly inclusive as possible, serving as a fair forum for lively, even if occasionally rancorous, debate between widely divergent beliefs.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 25, 2022
The concern here is that, under Musk, Twitter will soon allow some of the worst kind of hate speech in the app, which is not against the law, as such, but should not be given amplification via social platforms.
Which seems to be a lesson that every platform has learned over the past few years. But Elon, at least right now, seems to disagree.
Combine that with the suggestion that Musk is going to cut 75% of Twitter staff – which is likely an exaggeration, but still, it does seem to reflect his general mindset in the takeover – and Twitter could end up getting very messy, very fast.
Certainly, that’s what Twitter’s current staff think. In an open letter to Musk, in response to the reports of massive cuts incoming, Twitter staff have said that such cuts:
“…will hurt Twitter’s ability to serve the public conversation. A threat of this magnitude is reckless, undermines our users’ and customers’ trust in our platform, and is a transparent act of worker intimidation.”
That’s unlikely to sway Musk’s thinking, but it does highlight the workplace environment that Musk could be about to take on, which, again, points to potential uncertainty for the app.
Add to this the fact that many of Twitter’s top staff have already jumped ship, and new reports that Twitter’s struggling to keep its most active users, and it’s not exactly looking like a victory parade will be awaiting Musk as he heads into Twitter HQ for the first time.
But again, Elon says that he has a plan. And when the person making such a claim has defied the odds so many times in the past, you can’t dismiss that out of hand.
It looks like we’ll soon find out – there could be more twists to come yet, but it does seem like the first stage of the saga is about to come to an end.