back to article Twitter preps poison pill to preclude Elon Musk's purchase plan

Twitter on Friday said its board of directors had unanimously approved a plan to prevent a hostile takeover, something that became a distinct possibility after billionaire Elon Musk offered $43 billion to buy the social media network. The poison pill, or "Rights Plan," the biz said, "will reduce the likelihood that any entity …

  1. Teejay

    And again, no.

    I had never realised how morally righteous Twitter is, and how populist Musk, until I read this article. Twitter's board are clearly in it for the good, and not for the money.

    Joking.

    Once again, a piece of journalism I have much trouble agreeing with.

    I also do not understand what Covid has to do with anything else in the article, apart from being a cheap emotional trigger.

    1. Martin-73 Silver badge

      Re: And again, no.

      Musk is a disgusting human being, he promotes hate speech.

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        Re: And again, no.

        how did you get THAT out of wanting FREE speech?

        (leftist "logic"? what is next, an accusation of RACISM?)

        We both know that promoting FREE speech is *NOT* the same as promoting *HATE* speech.

        1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    2. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      'I have much trouble agreeing with'

      So, wait, you're for or against free speech?

      C.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 'I have much trouble agreeing with'

        I'll leave this here: https://xkcd.com/1357/

        1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Amen to that

        2. Eric Kimminau TREG

          Re: 'I have much trouble agreeing with'

          If this is TRULY the case, I can build quite the list of people the world thinks are a-holes but havent been banned. The problem is that the "platform" has decided someone is an a-hole, not the world at large and then decided to show someone the door.

          1. Tilda Rice

            Re: 'I have much trouble agreeing with'

            Or like the Hunter Biden laptop story that was in the public interest buried by the legacy and social media.

            Or Facebook removing a British Medical journal highlighting the poor quality of clinical trials at Ventavia.

            This isn't about some singular racist gammon, this is about what these big tech companies allow single humans (citizens or influential people like politicians) or entities like the BMJ to post.

      2. Martin-73 Silver badge

        Re: 'I have much trouble agreeing with'

        This boldly assumes that your correspondent has Sassed the US constitution (Sass: know, be aware of, meet, have sex with;)

      3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: 'I have much trouble agreeing with'

        "So, wait, you're for or against free speech?"

        Yes.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: 'I have much trouble agreeing with'

          I'm not against Free Speech, it's just that I think I've always made a lot of money from it.

          Elon^H^H^H^H^H

      4. Tams

        Re: 'I have much trouble agreeing with'

        Jein.

      5. Teejay

        Re: 'I have much trouble agreeing with'

        Joking? What a polarisation... if I agree with the article, I am pro free speech and vice versa?

        1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

          Re: 'I have much trouble agreeing with'

          Joking? What a polarisation... if I agree with the article, I am pro free speech and vice versa? .... Teejay

          Welcome to leading worlds with quantum communication, Teejay. Where a this is a that and together something else altogether quite different dependent upon the time and the place where the raw info for advancing intel is shared and with whom and for what it is shared able to make valuable sense of its decoded message/stealthy instruction sets.

          1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

            Re: 'I have much trouble agreeing with'

            This is the global control leverage which is always going to be questioned and fought over in order to lead the great ignorant unwashed and arrogant dilettante alike with news they want you to believe without question. ....... MSNBC Blast From The Past: It's Our Job To Control How People Think... Not Elon Musk's

            And hey, although we are absolutely crap at it without command and control of IT and AI, that's our job ......https://twitter.com/stoolpresidente/status/1515105781560971266?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1515105781560971266%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_c10

            And now y'all know what's raging on all around you, and with no end in sight of the almighty fight for which very few are equipped to deal with and survive unscathed with reputations and fortunes intact and enhanced/reinforced and fortified.

            IT and AI are a Brave New NEUKlearer HyperRadioProACTive World which does not suffer the useful fool with useless tools.

            1. bombastic bob Silver badge
              WTF?

              Re: 'I have much trouble agreeing with'

              I am having trouble figuring out whether I agree with you or are just confused.

              Free speech: yes. "Big Tech" manipulating and controlling the masses through censorship: No.

              That's how I see it. I like narrowing it down to a simple concept.

              (NOTE: pejorative, harassing, and libelous/slanderous speech is NOT "free speech" In My Bombastic Opinion. Everything ELSE should be ALLOWED, and NOT censored)

              1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

                A Right Crooked Game That’s Been Played by a Self-Indulgent Thought Chosen Few for Generations

                (NOTE: pejorative, harassing, and libelous/slanderous speech is NOT "free speech" In My Bombastic Opinion. Everything ELSE should be ALLOWED, and NOT censored) ........ bombastic bob

                Howdy, bombastic bob, nice to speak to you, to speak to you nice, nice.

                The problem is not in pejorative, harassing, and libelous/slanderous speech being allowed, it is in its owners and supporters, both active and passive, not suffering punitive crippling sanction ..... which one would have to admit and conclude is not their fault ... [the pejorative, harassing, and libelous/slanderous speech owners and supporters] .... but an omission and dereliction of higher office duty perpetrated by everyone else. Fix that simple fault and the subsequent results will be bound to be inordinately better and quite different.

                And is not everything else, by natural autonomous default, uncensored, and benefits unreservedly from free rein to roam and reign? Maybe that is something humanity is still yet to learn/discover/experience/experiment with?

      6. Steve Button Silver badge

        Re: 'I have much trouble agreeing with'

        So if I was to post something like "I believe it's possible Covid came from a lab leak in Wuhan" around one year ago, that would have got me banned from Twitter for spreading misinformation. Now that's pretty much accepted as a possible source. Who should decide what's free speech?

        If Twitter are a private company and it's up to them what they publish on their platform, then they should also respect the fact that they are a private company and do what's best for the shareholders (which means NOT poisoning their own share value against a possible take over). Utter hypocrites.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: 'I have much trouble agreeing with'

          No, it wasn't like that.

          People were posting - without evidence - that it was the China virus created intentionally by the Chinese in the Wuhan Lab. Groundless conspiracy bollocks spread around by Trump and MAGA arsehats.

          The fact that some conspiracy bullshit turns out to have some truth in it doesn't discount the fact that at the time, it still was conspiracy bullshit.

          If I pick a name from a phonebook, then start a successful campaign vilifying that person as a paedo, if down the line it turns out he was a paedo, that doesn't absolve me of wrong doings, it just means that in this case I was lucky.

          1. bombastic bob Silver badge
            Thumb Down

            Re: 'I have much trouble agreeing with'

            So what. Let people say what they want

            1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

              Yes. That way we'll know who to avoid.

          2. Steve Button Silver badge

            Re: 'I have much trouble agreeing with'

            Actually AC it WAS like that. People were posting circumstantial evidence, such as the gain of function research being carried out on Bat coronaviruses in Wuhan funded by Echo Health Alliance and that was being taken down by Twitter. Also posting anything about the dozens of other "coincidences" around that lab.

            Even worse, if you posted anything about the Hunter Biden laptop story in the New York Post that was also immediately taken down.

            1. Tilda Rice

              Re: 'I have much trouble agreeing with'

              Or the British Medical Journal article about poor clinical trials practices at Ventavia, being taken down as "no context".

              Outrageous censorship to promote a singular narrative.

          3. Falmari Silver badge

            Re: 'I have much trouble agreeing with'

            @AC “If I pick a name from a phonebook, then start a successful campaign vilifying that person as a paedo, if down the line it turns out he was a paedo, that doesn't absolve me of wrong doings(1), it just means that in this case I was lucky(2).”

            1) Yes, it does if there is sufficient evidence they were, then you have not committed slander and or libel even if your intent was to wrong them with slander/libel.

            2) Yes, you would be lucky in that case.

            Of course a campaign vilifying a person maybe viewed depending on the language as intending to cause harm and may be subject to criminal laws. Laws that "down the line", would not change.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: 'I have much trouble agreeing with'

              > 1) Yes, it does if there is sufficient evidence they were, then you have not committed slander and or libel even if your intent was to wrong them with slander/libel.

              I think you're confusing legal wrong with moral wrong.

              In that situation, he'd probably win a legal case because he'd (now) be able to argue that what he'd said was true.

              That doesn't change the fact that he was wrong to pick a random name from a phonebook and spread (as far as he knew) lies accusing them of some fairly heinous crimes.

              So no, it wouldn't absolve him of wrong-doings - he could just as easily have wrecked the life of an innocent person.

              1. Falmari Silver badge

                Re: 'I have much trouble agreeing with'

                @AC "So no, it wouldn't absolve him of wrong-doings - he could just as easily have wrecked the life of an innocent person."

                I agree as I pointed out in my final line about "intending to cause harm". They would be lucky as they have not committed slander/libel. But they might still run foul of the law due to "intending to cause harm".

                So I do not think there was any confusion on my part.

          4. Cliffwilliams44 Bronze badge

            Re: 'I have much trouble agreeing with'

            "People were posting - without evidence - that it was the China virus created intentionally by the Chinese in the Wuhan Lab. Groundless conspiracy bollocks spread around by Trump and MAGA arsehats."

            That is complete nonsense! People were posting that "there is considerable circumstantial evidence that the virus 'escaped' from the Wuhan lab!" And that got people banned!

            Yet, people WERE posting that "the virus came from a natural source in the Wuhan wet market"! Without ANY evidence, even circumstantial! And that was taken as gospel!

            Hunter Biden's laptop story was banned as "Russian Disinformation" and that claim has been proven to be 100% Leftist Disinformation!

            Just about everything Twitter has claimed was "Disinformation" has over the last 2 years been proven to be true!

          5. M.V. Lipvig Bronze badge

            Re: 'I have much trouble agreeing with'

            So what you're saying is if you agree with it it's OK but if you don't it's either hate speech or misinformation that should be banned. Since you bring up Trump, there was no shortage of twits on (one of many examples) the Steele dossier, which has since proven to be a fabrication commissioned by Clinton as a campaign ploy, and nobody was banning those as misinformation. Twits are only banned on Twitter if they go against the leftist narrative of the US. While Steele has been cleared of wrongdoing, the analysts that helped him gather information are in legal hot water for lying. The Clinton campaign was also fined by the FEC for lying about paying for it to happen.

            The thing about free speech is either everyone must have it, or nobody can. It doesn't matter if you get to speak because you agree with the censors, because the minute you disagree you too will be silenced.

      7. Martin-73 Silver badge

        Re: 'I have much trouble agreeing with'

        I'm against libertarian bollocks. Free speech comes with a requirement. A brain (or, ideally, should come with such)

        1. Cliffwilliams44 Bronze badge

          Re: 'I have much trouble agreeing with'

          "I'm against libertarian bollocks. Free speech comes with a requirement. A brain (or, ideally, should come with such)"

          No, it does not! The village idiot has every right to say "the end is near" as does anyone else. It is up to you to believe him or not!

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: 'I have much trouble agreeing with'

            But, you're also free to move him out of your pub when you're fed up of him bothering your punters.

            The thing about free speech is it comes hand in hand with freedom of association - the right to be associated, or not, with whoever you like.

            > It is up to you to believe him or not!

            What's that saying: a lie is halfway around the world before the truth's even got it's shoes on

            The idea that things can be left to that is idealistic naivety. I wish it were true, but humans really aren't wired that way. Studies have shown, repeatedly, that once someone's accepted a "truth" they'll tend to ignore any evidence that contradicts their belief (one example here: https://www.newscientist.com/article/2146124-we-ignore-what-doesnt-fit-with-our-biases-even-if-it-costs-us/).

            There isn't a good or simple answer to it, and that includes "just have moar speech"

            1. Barracoder

              Re: 'I have much trouble agreeing with'

              Don't complain then when someone who is more tolerant wants to buy the pub.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: 'I have much trouble agreeing with'

                Ohai. I'm from the future. As it turns out, Musk's alleged ploy to take over Twitter was just a PR stunt to garner attention.

                As was to be expected.

      8. Jason Bloomberg

        Re: 'I have much trouble agreeing with'

        So, wait, you're for or against free speech?

        I would want to see the definition of Free Speech before I could decide which side I came down on.

        Free Speech as in "anything goes", completely unrestrained and unrestricted - No, I am against that.

        I have found very few people who genuinely support such an ultra-libertarian implementation of Free Speech. Most are hypocrites who simply want the right to say whatever they want to say while limiting the rights of others to have their say.

        Allowing unrestrained and unrestricted Free Speech means being in favour of allowing terrorists and other scum to radicalise, to promote and incite murder, assassination, killing and genocide, to promote hatred and causes which would harm them, others, their families, tribe, country or lifestyle.

        I am not in favour of that. I believe there should be some restrictions and they should apply to all.

        1. M.V. Lipvig Bronze badge

          Re: 'I have much trouble agreeing with'

          You should. Alowing radicals and terrorists to speak openly allows you to know who is a radical. It's a lot easier to monitor these groups, and know who needs personal attenton when you can easily find them online than it is when you shut them down and force them into the shadows. People aren't convinced to join radicals and terrorists unless they already agree with them.

          1. MrDamage Silver badge

            Re: 'I have much trouble agreeing with'

            And allowing them to speak openly also courts the risk of them radicalising those who listen.

            Or did Jan 6th not serve any lesson?

            1. Tilda Rice

              Re: 'I have much trouble agreeing with'

              He did qualify his statement with, nothing inciteful.

              But opinion, or alternate narrative shouldn't be shut down, but often is.

      9. SundogUK Silver badge

        Re: 'I have much trouble agreeing with'

        You can say what you like; I don't have to agree with it. Pretty obvious, really.

    3. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: And again, no.

      Twitter, through its content moderation, is limiting free speech.

      And I thought such a think was obvious to the most casual observer.

      Looking forward to "the left" squirming over this...

      (oh NOZE our masses-manipulation-system is in DANGER of being... UNCENSORED!!!)

      All In My Bombastic Opinion of course!

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: And again, no.

        I am all for free speech, as long as I agree with what is being said. If I don’t like it then it must be lies and should be banned.

        1. Cliffwilliams44 Bronze badge

          Re: And again, no.

          It is not about free speech anymore. The Left recognized your "right to free speech" but they do not recognize your "right to be heard!"

      2. MrDamage Silver badge

        Re: And again, no.

        Completely unlike those bastions of free speech, Stormfront, and Parlour.

    4. Cliffwilliams44 Bronze badge

      Re: And again, no.

      Twitters board is ready to undermine the stock price at the expense of the shareholders. That is a direct violation of their fiduciary responsibility. Anyone who owns Twitter stock (I do not) will be prevented from taking advantage of this offer!

      Law suits will be filed!

      If there are people who want to keep Twitter as is, raise the funds and make a better offer!

  2. RuffianXion

    Musk's concept of 'Free Speech', like many of his ilk, seems to boil down to, 'I'm rich so I should be able to say what I like wherever I like' and he's right - apart from the 'wherever' part.

    1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      Winning the rat race...

      If you're a rich shit who can more or less buy whatever you want, it's really annoying to find their are limits on what you can say. What's the point in investing all the time and effort getting rich if some poor guy can still control you?

  3. Jim Mitchell

    "The poison pill, or "Rights Plan," the biz said, "will reduce the likelihood that any entity, person or group gains control of Twitter through open market accumulation without paying all shareholders an appropriate control premium or without providing the Board sufficient time to make informed judgments and take actions that are in the best interests of shareholders.""

    If the current shareholders don't think Musk is offering enough $, they can just say no and not sell them? Poison pills are to protect the current management, not shareholders.

    1. veti Silver badge

      Speaking as someone who's been on the receiving end of this kind of shenanigans before...

      When someone with a big pulpit starts making overtures directly to shareholders, there's a reasonable chance that a significant number of them will go for it despite its being underpriced. When that happens, the 40% or whatever who wanted to hold out - are screwed. They have no recourse but to go along with it, whether they like it or not.

      When that "someone" has a reality distortion field of Musk's calibre, the risk is much higher.

      I'm all for the board doing what they can to raise the bar.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        > When someone with a big pulpit starts making overtures directly to shareholders, there's a reasonable chance that a significant number of them will go for it despite its being underpriced

        Exactly that.

        If you're in that position you're left with a choice between selling (at an undervalued prices), or holding out and hoping that not enough other shareholders sell to leave you holding the baby.

        What the poison pill does is help give shareholders some confidence that that's not going to happen overnight - they can hold out (whether on principle, or waiting for a higher offer) without too much concern that the acquirer will just buy from everyone else instead.

        1. Falmari Silver badge
          Devil

          @AC "What the poison pill does is help give shareholders some confidence that that's not going to happen overnight"

          While giving the board the confidence that they would be able to significantly increase their stake in the company for half the share price value before it happens. ;)

          Cynical no. ;)

        2. fxkeh

          > If you're in that position you're left with a choice between selling (at an undervalued prices), or holding out and hoping that not enough other shareholders sell to leave you holding the baby.

          I don't follow this logic - if you hold out and the hostile buyer *does* find enough other buyers to gain control and force the company private then all that means is you are forced to sell your shares to them at that point - you don't just lose your shares.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            > and force the company private then all that means is you are forced to sell your shares to them at that point - you don't just lose your shares.

            No, you don't just lose your shares.

            But, you also won't usually get the.... ahem.... generous price that was offered at the start.

            So your choice is between selling at an undervalued price, or holding out (and hoping that others do) with the potential of ending up having to sell at an even worse price.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "When someone with a big pulpit starts making overtures directly to shareholders, there's a reasonable chance that a significant number of them will go for it despite its being underpriced. When that happens, the 40% or whatever who wanted to hold out - are screwed. They have no recourse but to go along with it, whether they like it or not."

        You just described how Governments and Presidents are elected

        "When that "someone" has a reality distortion field of Musk's calibre, the risk is much higher."

        Trump (A card game reference :-)

        1. veti Silver badge

          Governments and presidents are not like shareholders. Shares are shared. A president is less Care Bears, more Highlander - "there can be only one". A hostile takeover is like a coup in a flawed democracy.

        2. Someone Else Silver badge

          You just described how Governments and Presidents are elected

          Governments are not Boards of Directors of publicly held Corporations.

          At least, they weren't until the tRump administration....

  4. HildyJ Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Content moderation

    "Content moderation is necessary for social media platforms to function."

    The crux of the matter is that Elon, like Zuck, doesn't think it's necessary. He might want to get rid of the bots but he doesn't want to get rid of the trolls (like himself). Flame wars draw eyeballs and that is Elon's goal. If the world ends up misinformed or polarized, that's the world's fault, not Elon's.

    He believes in Aleister Crowley's saying "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law,"

    1. Ben Tasker

      Re: Content moderation

      > If the world ends up misinformed or polarized, that's the world's fault, not Elon's.

      Worse, he'll claim that the best way to address fake/false statements is more speech telling the truth.

      Which is true, in principle, but tends to fail when you've got someone setting their millions of followers on anyone who points out that they're spreading bullshit and/or putting lives at risk for their own commercial gain.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Content moderation

        And paying a scumbag for lies to defame someone with, when you are called out for incompetent ideas

      2. Cliffwilliams44 Bronze badge

        Re: Content moderation

        "Which is true, in principle, but tends to fail when you've got someone setting their millions of followers on anyone who points out that they're spreading bullshit and/or putting lives at risk for their own commercial gain."

        This sounds like everything the does! Selling the BS of Climate Change, Racism, Vaccines will stop the spread of covid, etc, etc.

        All BS lies!

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Content moderation

      It's not as if we've not already seen many examples of what happens on unmoderated "social media". The trolls, morons and extremists rapidly take over. The moderate majority simply don't want to deal with the shit and leave.

    3. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Megaphone

      Re: Content moderation

      SOME moderation, such as for harassing, pejorative, and libelous/slanderous posts, is needed. These should be "moderated" (or even deleted) with the possibility of banning repeat offenders. "Trolls" in other words, whose goal is simply to be a pain in the ass, need to be "gleaned" (more or less), sorta like a bouncer ejecting them from a bar.

      And of course, harassment lawsuit information (like who to serve with the paperwork) needs to be readily made available so that INDIVIDUALS who have been harassed or libeled can have a legal remedy, especially if being stalked. That would be CRIMINAL in some jurisdictions. (I am never against moderating against criminal activity)

      However, In My Bombastic Opinion, everything ELSE (whether accurate or not according to their standards, approval, or "liking") needs to be ALLOWED and NOT FILTERED nor FLAGGED nor in ANY other way HINDERED.

      This should be OBVIOUS. Otherwise, speech is not "free", nor can it be.

      (Why is "the extreme" always inflated to become the alleged intent of free speecdh advocates? because THE LEFT FEARS FREE SPEECH, that's why!)

      [it is a fair bet that THIS is what Elon wants, and I'm 100% supporting his efforts to TAKE OVER TWITTER]

      1. Glen 1

        Re: Content moderation

        Sooooo....

        Holocaust Denial?

        In quite a few countries that is criminal.

        In other countries criticism of the ruler is criminal.

        Advocating that 6 year olds can consent to sex? Not criminal...

        What is deemed to be criminal is merely a matter of your lords and masters deciding what is criminal.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Content moderation

        > because THE LEFT FEARS FREE SPEECH, that's why!

        Sorry but, Free speech isn't a left-right issue.

        There are people on either end of the spectrum who want to stop others saying things they disagree with. So rail against the left all you want, but you might want to pay mind to the people standing around you on the right.

        The problem with political tribalism is that it's incredibly simple minded. The spectrum isn't so much a straight line as a donut - the extremes on either "side" are often far more aligned than they'd ever willingly admit - they just tend to disagree on technicalities.

        Seeing someone go on about THE LEFT is normally a sign of someone who's failed to actually absorb much about politics and instead thinks they're routing for a football team.

      3. Someone Else Silver badge

        Re: Content moderation

        So tell me, Your Bombastic Heinous [sic], why can't I say "Fuck" in primetime on NBC, CBS, ABC, CBC, et al? Isn't that free speech? Why aren't you railing on about that, Mr. Free Speech Purist?

        Or more to the point, why can't I say ,"tRump is a motherfucking lying asshole (or arsehole)" on those same outlets?

  5. Joe Dietz

    This reminds me of when Yahoo rejected a takeover offer from Msft. Msft's offer was way more than they eventually fire sailed it off for. It almost seemed like Musk woke up one morning bought 9% of twitter on robinhood and _then_ discovered that despite all of the noise... twitter isn't really that central to that many people's lives. Take the money and run fools.

    1. Grunchy Bronze badge

      There’s probably at least a couple Twitter alternatives by now, even ignoring Trump’s forgettable version (you just know Trump is operating that solely to harvest people’s passwords so he can one day soon execute “the mother of all frauds”).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        From Twitter to Mastodon

        Mastodon (a decentralised version of Twitter) has been enjoying an influx since all the Musk malarkey.

        Both Gab and Truth.social (Trumps own network) are copies of the Mastodon code (the latter in a bit of a shady fashion) but with interaction with other servers blocked to turn them into walled gardens.

    2. Danny 14

      i was thinking something similar, surely one of the larger shareholders is thinking to offload the pile onto musk, hell even buy back when it backfires on him and halves the value in a years time.

  6. PhilipN

    Poison pill

    The most infuriating aspect of US takeovers. The first thing Directors and senior management do is rush to check their service contracts. Then they figure out the way to maximise their own returns. In a perfect world the Board would recuse themselves since in no way are they giving independent recommendations to shareholders.

    As an earlier poster said shareholders can say yes or no; or do nothing. There is a plethora of sources of information today; and advising shareholders has not been a closed shop for decades. Yet the second thing the Board does is ask the lawyers to drop in a poison pill, no more than a form of blackmail, a way to say **** you to the (temporarily) hostile party which benefits neither the company nor the shareholders.

    1. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: Poison pill

      No, I think the most infuriating thing about US takeovers is that somebody who is a bit of a dick, and seems to be acting in a way hostile to the current management, can amass enough shares to simply say "it's mine, bitches".

      1. FeepingCreature Bronze badge

        Re: Poison pill

        You're saying that the most infuriating thing about being a publically traded company is that your company is publically traded?

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Poison pill

        "somebody who is a bit of a dick"

        And in some cases a complete dick.

      3. Cliffwilliams44 Bronze badge

        Re: Poison pill

        At least this on isn't completely due to greed!

        Look at the take over of Cabellas! Cabellas had no intention of selling their company, yet some hedge fund asshole who owned a considerable amount of both Cabellas and Bass ProShop forced a hostile buy out of Cabellas by Bass Proshop! Once the takeover was done the Cabellas HQ in a small Midwestern town (the primary employer in this town) was closes down costing hundreds of jobs!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Poison pill

      I'd like to remind everyone of Nominet's advice to members (shareholder equivalents), how they should vote over the years and how well that turned out.

  7. msobkow Silver badge

    The only thing worse than a spoiled child is apparently spoiled billionaires...

  8. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Let me guess ..... but please correct me if wrong

    You’re not a great fan of Elon Musk, Thomas [Claburn in San Francisco] ...... thinking him to be too much of a cowboy and/or rogue trader rather than genuine rough diamond geezer?

    Love him or loathe him though, he certainly loves to field and play the Joker and play with moribund and entrenched markets creating waves.

    Bravo, Elon. Encore with those breaths of fresh air into stagnant positions.

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Let me guess ..... but please correct me if wrong

      Love him or loathe him though, he certainly loves to field and play the Joker

      Hmm - that statement could be applied to...

      @amanfrommars 1

  9. Grunchy Bronze badge

    Yeah, well, Twitter is for twits. It’s just a convenient medium to show off how ignorant and loud-mouthed one might be (or for your audience to aspire to).

    1. Danny 14

      this is the part ive never understood. I used facebook and twitter with a disposable account for times I have no choice - ive needed ot to pull information on companies, speedier support (!) and contacting long lost friends for their proper contact information.

      What always amazed me was the amount of personal information people voluntarily put on there for the world to see, moat of it fairly "look at me and what ive done" or worst still their kids (who have had no say bit will now have their info put on the net for them).

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Social media is a cesspit

    That people can make money off it is admirable.

    But I still don’t want to swim there.

    1. Cliffwilliams44 Bronze badge

      Re: Social media is a cesspit

      Twitter is actually losing money! So money is obviously not Musk's motivation here.

  11. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    A plague on both their tiresome houses.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Buys 9.2% of company without telling anyone and against SEC rule. Announces plan to buy said company sending stock soaring.

    Now whatever happens next is profit. I find it incredulous that money makes money for money's sake but here we are.

    1. bazza Silver badge

      Broken a rule, or broken a law?

      Either way, the lack disclosure about his acquisition is undeniable, and is going to get him into some sort of trouble. The only real question is, how much? Furthermore, there's now at least two federal authorities unhappy with his attitude (the FAA, SEC). At some point the authorities are going to have to teach him a lesson. I'd be intersted to know just how big a book the SEC can theoreticaly throw at him for this one. A fine? Jail? Disqualification?

      Another thing worth mulling is, where would the $43billion come from. He's not got that as cash. For Twitter shareholders, I can't see the attraction of a stock swap for Tesla shares. He'd still be in an influential position over their value, and they wouldn't be. And if they all decided to bail out of Tesla shares ASAP the current price would drop. That sounds like an unappealing lose-lose situation, so I don't see why they'd accept that sort of offer.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "Another thing worth mulling is, where would the $43billion come from."

        Debt. If he's got that value in assets he can use that as collateral against a loan. Once he's got the company he lumbers it with the loan. Even better is the possibility that he finds someone else to sell it to; after a few cycles the amount of debt sinks the company and Twitter has tweeted its last. Normally I'd think that's a bad thing (e.g. Maplin) but I'm prepared to make exceptions.

        1. Snowy Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Sadly rather than disappear I think what would happen is someone buys the name off the liquidator and relaunches the company. The losses and the employees someone else's problem.

        2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

          Yup.

          I'm a bit curious how that would work though. Musk's worth is based on his Tesla stock, and he's been borrowing against to fund his other ventures. So not sure how easy it'd be to transfer debt secured by Musk's Tesla stock to Twitter. Or how easy it'd be to raise $43bn to make a vanity purchase of a company with no real revenues.

          But economics has become strange. Valuations used to be 3-5x revenue, now they can be 1,000+. Tesla having a price correction is going to lead to the mother of all margin calls when it's share price falls. I'm suprised that hasn't happened already, and there's been growing competition, a list of factory recalls, commodity price pressure. And the big on, either an end to EV credit sales, or just a reduction as other automakers crank up their own EV production.

          There's also the risk of Musk's reality distortion field failing. The Cybertruck urban assault vehicle was announced years ago, deposits taken, but no trucks. And no semi either. Now, Frod's launched the EV version of one of America's best selling trucks, the F150, and GM is following. So Tesla's behind the market, and it'll be interesting to see how many truck buyers are willing to pay a premium for Tesla's... distinctive styling.

    2. Someone Else Silver badge

      I find it incredulous that money makes money for money's sake but here we are.

      But isn't that how Bitcoin works? Incredulous, indeed!

  13. cantankerous swineherd

    this is nothing more than a stock market ramp

  14. PriorKnowledge
    Thumb Up

    Elon is right about Twitter (and the web in general) but his current solution is wrong

    He needs to turn Twitter into a non-profit and reimplement the website as a WASM version of a P2P-driven microblogging service with support for filesharing using magnet links. At that point, anything/everything should be allowed indiscriminately with users being able to control what they're exposed to based upon who they choose to follow. The rule of "once posted, content cannot be removed" would become the norm online once again. No moderation team would be necessary, as Twitter would no longer host any content nor could it be accused of profiting from any copyright infringement. Users with real computers would install a properly transpiled (or perhaps even a reimplemented) native application, while those without one would simply use the web version.

    Non-profit funding for the service could be obtained through bounties for new extensions (e.g. forum/BB, wiki etc.) or by offering ancillary services on a subscription basis (like formal identity verification, key escrow and content caching/distribution). Plus, by allowing anything and everything, it would maintain the popularity of existing Twitter, while taking on folks who'd be right at home with The Pirate Bay. In a worst case scenario, Elon could do a Jimmy and put up big donation banners every other month, assuming he ever became too poor to fund it himself through tax write-offs. As Musk is a gigantic fan of open source, he could open up everything as GNU AGPL, preventing it from ever being banned outright, while also guaranteeing freedom for everyone forever more.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Elon is right about Twitter (and the web in general) but his current solution is wrong

      > He needs to turn Twitter into a non-profit and reimplement the website as a WASM version of a P2P-driven microblogging service with support for filesharing using magnet links. At that point, anything/everything should be allowed indiscriminately with users being able to control what they're exposed to based upon who they choose to follow

      Well done, you've just reinvented Freenet with less encryption.

      Now, what's Freenet most known for? Oh yeah, Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM). I wonder what you'd start finding on Twitter if it became truly censorship resilient? Remember that CSAM isn't a purely darknet problem - 8kun came into being because CSAM was banned from 4chan. Most CSAM lives on the web rather than the darknet too.

      > No moderation team would be necessary, as Twitter would no longer host any content nor could it be accused of profiting from any copyright infringement.

      Siri, show me someone who's never watched the US legal system at work.

      This claim is beyond naive - it's the same defence that The Pirate Bay, other torrent sites, and streaming site have used, and basically all of them lost their respective cases. And that's just for copyright. If CSAM starts being passed about, you can be damn sure someone is going to be held responsible.

      1. PriorKnowledge

        Re: Elon is right about Twitter (and the web in general) but his current solution is wrong

        > Well done, you've just reinvented Freenet with less encryption.

        and fewer hops, since anonymity isn't a priority, unlike I2P/freenet.

        > Now, what's Freenet most known for? Oh yeah, Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM). I wonder what you'd start finding on Twitter if it became truly censorship resilient?

        I wouldn't be following paedophiles and nor would you or any other normal user. As exposure to content would require you to follow them neither of us would encounter CSAM. This line of reasoning would be far stronger if we were talking Gnutella, where searches are decentralised and where you don't need to follow people to connect with them.

        > This claim is beyond naive - it's the same defence that The Pirate Bay, other torrent sites, and streaming site have used, and basically all of them lost their respective cases.

        You can perform "DMCA takedowns" by providing a blocklist with the official client, this is what LBRY does and that puts them in compliance with the law. It's up to end users whether they choose to accept the filtering though. All you need do is replace the response to 'https://api.lbry.io/file/list_blocked' and boom!

        Besides, if the product is open-source, anyone can make a fork at any time. Funny enough, when prosecutors discovered anyone could fork TPB (along with its database) they just gave up and took the loss. Only 3 people ended up in prison but everything was still functional as if nothing happened. They knew it was game over at that point and that no amount of prosecutorial aggression could put the genie back in the bottle. The same happened with LimeWire (now called WireShare) where the prosecution "took down" the service only to find a fork in the form of LimeWire Pirate Edition; at which point there were no further prosecutions.

        Were Musk to open-source Twitter and rearchitect it as a P2P service, the exact same thing would happen. As long as he followed the approach LBRY currently takes he'd be fine, however, let's assume he doesn't. The key difference is that Musk would likely encourage forks from the get-go, stripping the feds of any public benefit justification for trying to go after him in the first place. That, plus his big bank and huge ego, would be enough of a deterrent!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Elon is right about Twitter (and the web in general) but his current solution is wrong

          > I wouldn't be following paedophiles and nor would you or any other normal user.

          That, however, isn't likely to be nearly enough to stop the legal repercussions that censor-resistant-twitter would run into. If it becomes a widely used distribution mechanism, it's fucked.

          It also ignores that Twitter bubbles up content from people you don't follow (both algorithmically as well as in the form of retweets etc), but I assume you'd knock that on the head (and nothing of value would be lost)

          > You can perform "DMCA takedowns" by providing a blocklist with the official client, this is what LBRY does and that puts them in compliance with the law. It's up to end users whether they choose to accept the filtering though. All you need do is replace the response to 'https://api.lbry.io/file/list_blocked' and boom!

          I'm not sure it does put them in compliance with the law. I'm even less sure that a media company's legal department would feel that way if there was an org with deep pockets on the other end.

          As a general rule, the law doesn't concern itself too much with how you've implemented something - if your platform is being used to distribute something, the reasoning tends to be that you're responsible for making sure your platform provides the means to comply with the law.

          Saying "sorry, it's decentralised, I can't block it" isn't likely to be much of a defence.

          Even if it *is* a valid defence now (which I doubt), as soon as it's successfully used by a large org, you'll see lobbying start for "modernisation" of the law to address the new-fangled distribution approach.

          > Besides, if the product is open-source, anyone can make a fork at any time.

          Indeed, which is a big part of why it's a bad idea to build your product in the way you've described. You want your own defences against infringement to be robust - no being able to do much about 3rd party forks is defensible, but only if your initial implementation didn't start out with similar flaws

          > Funny enough, when prosecutors discovered anyone could fork TPB (along with its database) they just gave up and took the loss.

          You're talking about a criminal investigation here - the prosecutors aren't going to keep pissing public money up a rope for no good reason.

          What you'd be looking at with decentralised-twitter would be a civil suit, with the *AAs of the world bringing the claim. You're probably right in that they wouldn't pursue forks (or many of them), but you can be sure they'd be working to push Twitter into bankruptcy.

          > Were Musk to open-source Twitter and rearchitect it as a P2P service, the exact same thing would happen. As long as he followed the approach LBRY currently takes he'd be fine,

          I disagree. What LBRY have done is sufficient for an org of their size and profile - it's not likely to be nearly enough for one like Twitter. Even if Twitter ultimately won the ensuing legal action, there's a significant cost to defending and no guarantee of costs being awarded. They'd also very likely face action in multiple legal systems too (BREIN would almost certainly pursue them too, for example)

          > The key difference is that Musk would likely encourage forks from the get-go, stripping the feds of any public benefit justification for trying to go after him in the first place

          It would also strip Twitter of any real value, so he'd spend $9bn (or whatever) to buy Twitter and immediately devalue it. I'm not saying he definitely wouldn't, but that's not the kind of behaviour that keeps one rich, and remember that he's likely funding the acquisition via leveraged debt.

          > That, plus his big bank and huge ego, would be enough of a deterrent!

          His big bank isn't a deterrent to a civil suit, if anything it puts an even bigger target onto Twitter.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How many

    How many Twats make a Twitter?

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: How many

      This is a difficult question to answer. The number seems to keep going up with no indicaation that we've got to the final total.

    2. Danny 2 Silver badge

      Re: How many

      One twat to rule them all.

  16. FlamingDeath Silver badge

    Yeah Musk and others like him are mega wealthy, all the way up to the point when the world gets turned into a glass bowl by low IQ ‘world leaders’

    Nobody who survives is gonna give two shits about your wealth, and will kill you on-site, just because

    1. Magani
      Headmaster

      Which site?

      ...and will kill you on-site...

      So which particular site is that? Tesla, Space-X, The Boring Company, OpenAI or ???

  17. Golgafrinch

    The bit I don't get

    Where exactly does "Free Speech" come in?

    You write a letter to the editor of your newspaper of choice, and if it is within range of their agenda, chances are that they will publish it. If it's somehere in between deranged and psychotic, there are sufficient outlets to disseminate yourself (many of them Murdoch-owned, but not all of them). And if you are totally off the wall, you can always start your own website.

    In short, if Twitter decides that your contributions don't quite cut it, this can hardly be considered as a curtailment of Free Speech.

    Elon Musk is of course perfectly free to relaunch the Weekly World News - where, I believe, he'd feel perfectly @home.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The bit I don't get

      As someone else posted here a few days ago, why does he not just start his own blog?

      As long as he stays clear of too much manipulating stock prices, too much inciting hatred or inspiring acts of terrorism he can say whatever he want and doesn’t need to rely on third parties.

    2. Cliffwilliams44 Bronze badge

      Re: The bit I don't get

      Considering that the media uses Twitter are they primary aggregator, generating interest for their stories by their tweets. Allowing twitter to arbitrarily shutdown any media outlet publishing a story is no different than the British Army shutting down Thomas Pain speaking in the public square! You can use the "private business" all you want but a political movement using corporations to further their political goals is nothing short of Fascism!

  18. Ian Johnston Silver badge

    Elon Musk's inevitable crash is going to be almost as much fun as Donald Trump's. More, perhaps, because Trump will almost certainly do a Maxwell on us an die before the really juicy stuff comes out. Musk, on the other hand, is only 50, which means we have a good chance of seeing him sentenced to decades in prison, or bankrupt, or both.

  19. usa1

    The new left is so mentally bankrupt, they favor censorship (they call it moderations now -- so clever) over free speech. Why? Because their arguments are so weak and they have grown up in safe space where their fragile feelings are not hurt.

    In the past, it was the liberals promoting free speech. But now, the traditional liberals are now "right wingers" and must be censored (ahem, I mean moderated) out of the public square. It's a fascinating turn of events.

    1. DryBones

      For the exchange of ideas. Not for conspiracy to sedition, to promote actions likely to result in injury or death to yourself or others, etc. You are free to say what you want. But you are not free to use someone else's platform to do it. If you break the house rules, don't act shocked to find yourself outside the door.

      It's just hilarious how fast so called defenders of capitalism and business and free speech pitch a fit when they discover that breaching a business's rules gets them turfed out. The crying, the complaining. The wailing at the unfairness of it. "Conservatives are being censored much more often!" And they're probably breaching the ToS much more often, cause and effect.

      What was that said about snowflakes, and feelings? Act civil. Show some actual respect. Bring some actual evidence. Discuss things on the merits as found by those that actually know what they're talking about, not Dr Oz or Franzie on Facebook.

    2. iron Silver badge

      A personal attack on a group of people you disagree with is the weakest argument of all.

      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        War is a Racket Worthy of Brand New Targets Formerly Claiming Immunity and Impunity of Action

        A personal attack on a group of people you disagree with is the weakest argument of all. .... iron

        A personal attack on a group of people you don't disagree with is worthy of a vengeful response from appropriate forces from which one does not recover or survive in the most extreme of valid cases. Methinks such as a common default result would be more than just a Great Game Changer being as how it would decimate and clear the politically incorrect landscape of all manner of parasite and pariah providing weapons unable to not do deadly harm to innocent civilians.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Oh dear. So much stupid to digest from one post!

      Unfortunately, right wingers have proved what utter morons they are. They follow the herd, treat politics as a team-sport, and cheerlead for their glorious leader, bleating in unified agreement to everything he says."

      I'm sure the rest of us would love if this wasn't the case, then we wouldn't have to act to protect you from yourselves.

      Do you think Fox would still be running if you lot could think for yourselves? How about the Russian bots? They only exist because they work - they can continue to spew out all sorts of propaganda - however ridiculous - and you guys lap it up, with no critical thought.

      I'm sure we'd love to be in a world where it would be ok for these people to lie, because no-one would believe them and would just ignore them, but whilst people like you exist, you need protection from yourselves.

      That covers lying / propaganda / "misinformation"

      As for "feelings being hurt", you're projecting again, dear. You whine about cancel culture and censorship, but when the shoes on the other foot, you revel in it. Remember "boycott Nike?" "Cancel Kaepernick", the list goes on.

      Just last week, winner of thickest person to ever exit, Marjorie Taylor Greene reported Jimmy Kimmel to his bosses, and complained to the police, over a JOKE https://twitter.com/RepMTG/status/1511816972610244615

      Is she a weak leftie now?

      Finally, free speech. So you'd be comfortable for someone to post your name and address to a Q-Anon list accusing you of being a paedophile? Especially if it's someone influential in the maga-moron universe?

      You're just a hypocrite. You guys:

      - believe in freedom (to do whatever the hell you like to others, but they shouldn't have the freedom to retaliate)

      - believe in freedom of religion (as long as that religion is Christianity)

      By the way, here is a list of just some of the things Trump has tried to cancel. <a href="https://edition.cnn.com/2020/07/07/politics/fact-check-trump-cancel-culture-boycotts-firings/index.html>https://edition.cnn.com/2020/07/07/politics/fact-check-trump-cancel-culture-boycotts-firings/index.html</a>

      Now, I know you'll say "CNN fake news" without even looking, but be bold. Everything they post is easily fact-checked, if you care to think for yourself for once.

      HTH. HAND.

      1. Swarthy Silver badge
        Facepalm

        The bit I'm enjoying here is the derision of moderation, and equating it with censorship in these forums, which are moderated.

        "Moderated services will silence dissenting viewpoints!" Obviously, provably, not.

      2. Someone Else Silver badge

        Just last week, winner of thickest person to ever exit, Marjorie Taylor Greene reported Jimmy Kimmel to his bosses, and complained to the police, over a JOKE https://twitter.com/RepMTG/status/1511816972610244615

        Is she a weak leftie now?

        You just won the Internet.

        ...or would have, were the Internet populated with a sufficient number of folks whose IQ is above room temperature...

  20. Claverhouse Silver badge
    Happy

    The Crap-Meister

    "I'm tweeting more or less stream of consciousness," Musk answered. "It's not like, 'Let me think about some grand plan about my Twitter or whatever. I'm like literally on the toilet or something. I'm like, 'Oh this is funny,' and then tweet that out."

    .

    That's what one assumes.

    1. Magani
      Facepalm

      Re: The Crap-Meister

      Elon, it's obvious that's the way you operate, but it comes out more like a stream of ordure.

    2. Someone Else Silver badge

      Re: The Crap-Meister

      So, Musk admits to "Twooping"...just like the Orange-utan he so admires.

  21. MatthewSt

    Panic _is_ dumb

    Not sure why the article chose to highlight this tweet, but panic was the cause of a lot of problems. Supermarket shelves were emptier than they should have been because people were panic buying more than they needed

    Disagree with a lot of things he said, but that's not really one of them

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  22. Aquatyger

    Misinformation

    Leftists are frightened of free speech because it highlights how their misinformation is the bullshit it is.

  23. IGotOut Silver badge

    The problem with "free speech"

    Apart there is no such thing, is the proven psychological issue with humans.

    It's far easier to believe a lie you agree with, than the truth you don't.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The author of this article is obviously a twat

    Ending an article condoning banning someone for free speech makes you a twat. Period. You can say whatever you want but if you think censorship is the solution to this you are a twat.

  25. Potemkine! Silver badge

    to help freedom in the world

    I doubt this. First, Twitter has indeed an influence when it's about manipulating people and trying to rig elections. Manipulation is the opposite of Freedom.

    Next, Twitter is blocked in countries where Freedom is limited (and this is an understatement). Therefore it cannot help freedom where it's the most needed (supposing Twitter really helps Freedom)

  26. JBowler

    I don't twit..

    So am I correct in paraphrasing as follows?

    >I'm like literally on the toilet or something. I'm like, 'Oh this is funny,' and then fart that out."

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