Enterprise IT

Bezos, Jack react to Musk’s $44 Billion Twitter deal as questions swirl

Elon Musk has agreed to buy Twitter for $54.20/share in a $44 billion cash deal to take it private.

Founder Jack Dorsey said in a series of Tweets otherwise supporting the deal: “In principle, I don’t believe anyone should own or run Twitter. It wants to be a public good at a protocol level, not a company.

The price represents a 38% premium to Twitter’s closing stock price before speculation started.

Musk has secured $25.5 billion of financing and is providing a $21 billion equity commitment.

See: Amazon to launch 3,236 satellites under $10B Project Kuiper

“Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated,” said Musk — the world’s richest man — in a press release.

“I also want to make Twitter better than ever by enhancing the product with new features, making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating the spam bots, and authenticating all humans. Twitter has tremendous potential – I look forward to working with the company and the community of users to unlock it” he added.

Among the open questions is whether Musk will restore former President Donald Trump to the platform after his ban in January 8, 2021 under Twitter’s “glorification of violence” policy. Trump says he will not return.

Jack responds to Musk deal: “…a public good at a protocol level”

Elon Musk. Photo: James Duncan Davidson

Twitter founded Jack Dorsey said: “I love Twitter.

“Twitter is the closest thing we have to a global consciousness. The idea and service is all that matters to me, and I will do whatever it takes to protect both. Twitter as a company has always been my sole issue and my biggest regret. It has been owned by Wall Street and the ad model.

“Taking it back from Wall Street is the correct first step. In principle, I don’t believe anyone should own or run Twitter. It wants to be a public good at a protocol level, not a company. Solving for the problem of it being a company however, Elon is the singular solution I trust. I trust his mission to extend the light of consciousness…”

Quite how Musk plans to authenticate all humans and fight bots remain open questions.

Twitter locked down all product changes beyond mission critical ones this week, making it harder for employees to make unauthorised changes, according to multiple reports, amid some discontent among Twitter’s workforce about the deal and future of the company under Musk’s ownership. The Tesla founder is currently being sued by the Californian department of fair employment and housing (DFEH) amid allegations that Black workers in the company’s Fremont factory experienced “rampant racism” that the company left “unchecked for years”.

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos meanwhile (who owns the Wall Street Journal) asked rhetorically apropos a discussion about Twitter’s ban in China (since 2009) and Musk’s China exposure via Tesla: “Interesting question. Did the Chinese government just gain a bit of leverage over the town square? My own answer to this question is probably not. The more likely outcome in this regard is complexity in China for Tesla, rather than censorship at Twitter.”

Twitter has been publishing a public archive of data related to state-backed information operations since 2018. Since that first disclosure, it has shared 37 datasets of attributed platform manipulation campaigns originating from 17 countries, spanning more than200 million Tweets and nine terabytes of media, the company says.

The deal is is expected to close in 2022, subject to the approval of Twitter stockholders, the receipt of applicable regulatory approvals and the satisfaction of other customary closing conditions.

Musk co-founded and leads Tesla, SpaceX, Neuralink and The Boring Company.

Twitter reported 350 million “monetisable daily active users” in its last financial quarter. Quarterly revenue for Q4, 2021, was $1.57 billion of which ad revenue accounted for the vast majority at $1.41 billion.

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