back to article Elon Musk set to buy Twitter in $44b deal, promises stuff

It's official. Twitter's board on Monday said it has accepted an offer from Elon Musk, the world's richest man, to purchase the micro-blogging website and take it private.  The deal was accepted at Musk's original asking price of $54.20 per share, which Twitter said values the biz at approximately $44 billion. Bret Taylor, …

  1. Jason Bloomberg

    Popcorn time

    I'm not a social media user. It's going to be interesting to see how it goes. I do fear the worse. If there is such a thing when it comes to social media.

    1. Blank Reg Silver badge

      Re: Popcorn time

      Given his many stupid decisions in the past, we can likely expect more of the same once he has his hand on Twitter.

      1. Def Silver badge

        Re: Popcorn time

        He might be prone to stupid outbursts, but how many stupid business decisions has he made in the past?

        Genuine question.

        1. renniks

          Re: Popcorn time

          Hyperloop - pure smoke & mirrors nonsense.

          A success if you count taxis driving slowly in a narrow tunnel I suppose

      2. SundogUK Silver badge

        Re: Popcorn time

        Stupid decisions that have led to him being the richest man in the world? I could do with some of that stupid.

        1. sabroni Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: Stupid decisions that have led to him being the richest man in the world?

          Why are you jealous of this walking shit stain? The fact that everyone thinks what he's done is amazing is the biggest problem we have.

          Until we stop this pathetic worship of the greediest fuck nuggets on the planet the climate is fucked.

          (Yeah, of course I'm just jealous, because EVERYONE is chasing the cash, right?)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Stupid decisions that have led to him being the richest man in the world?

            On the fence about this one. He has done some great things, and some idiotic things. I am not a Twitter user, took one look at that in the beginning and noped right outta there. This will probably kill Twitter by a flood of even more toxic effluvia. At least, that's what I'm hoping for.

          2. Dave 126 Silver badge

            Re: Stupid decisions that have led to him being the richest man in the world?

            > Until we stop this pathetic worship of the greediest fuck nuggets on the planet the climate is fucked.

            Really? I'd have assumed that to save the environment we need to be more efficient in our energy use in areas such as transport, construction and agriculture. More medium term, we also do well to support in developing countries the factors that we have seen cause people to *choose* to have smaller families in developed nations - i.e better healthcare, female education, access to contraceptives and the power to use them.

            Smarter people than me have also observed that whilst rich individuals appear in the news, far larger pools of money are controlled by Sovereign Wealth Fund managers of behalf of nations. On behalf of, very often people saving for or drawing upon pensions.

            And this idea of worshipping Musk is an odd one - only because it often used as ad hominin argument by people who don't know much of Musk's businesses and track record. They've just heard the Billionaires With Rockets narrative in the press. Any neutral attempt to point at electric vehicles, off grid storage, solar panels and internet for remote poor people (attempts that can be scrutinised on their merits or otherwise) is rebuffed as 'worship'. (Logically, the statement 'Some people worship Musk' doesn't not mean the same as 'All people worship Musk'. Some youngsters idolise sports champions, some popstars. If some youngsters are inspired by rockets to become engineers - as happened in the wake of Apollo - so what? At least engineers will have the training to evaluate things from first principals and won't be swayed by uneducated talking points).

          3. SundogUK Silver badge

            Re: Stupid decisions that have led to him being the richest man in the world?

            Where did I say that everything he's done is amazing?

            Where did I say that I worship him?

            I pointed out that he is the richest man in the world (which is a simple truth) and that I'd like some of whatever he's got that made him so.

            And you think he's a 'walking shit stain'? Projection, maybe?

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Popcorn time

      I actually signed up. you can guess what name I used. Posted a bunch of stuff that is civil and informative, but would otherwise get "flagged" just for being "not woke". Let's see what happens! And some Fox News people got un-banned today. YES!!!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Civil and

        uninformadative https://twitter.com/bombastic_bob

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Civil and

          Well - this has certainly confirmed some of my previous assumptions

          Hilarious!

      2. Steve Button Silver badge

        Re: Popcorn time

        Yeah, 10 Tweets and ZERO followers. You are sure to get banned. I guess you don't know how Twitter works.

      3. LybsterRoy Bronze badge
        Trollface

        Re: Popcorn time

        Forget what you're posting Bob, you look FANTASTIC. Wanna date?

      4. Trigonoceps occipitalis

        Re: Popcorn time

        So nearly a whole post without a stuck caps-lock. Good effort, keep trying.

  2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    I'd have thought this is only the start. He'll need to get acceptance from the rest of the existing owners, the shareholders. Then he'll need to get regulatory acceptance. It could be a long-running story.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The offer would not be made - never mind accepted by the board - without the approval of the existing major shareholders, and there are no serious regulatory hurdles to overcome.

      1. Yes Me Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Hurdles

        Oh, I think there will be regulatory issues in the EU. I certainly hope so. The best thing that could possibly happen to Twitter is being pecked to death by regulators.

        1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

          Re: Hurdles

          Well, his algorithm- & transparency- changes are bang in line with what the EU are making noises about mandating for all social media, so they should be pretty happy about that -- he's ahead of the game.

          1. codejunky Silver badge

            Re: Hurdles

            @W.S.Gosset

            "so they should be pretty happy about that"

            From what I read the EU wet their pants or as Musk called it- 'extreme reaction from those who fear free speech'

        2. Cliffwilliams44 Bronze badge

          Re: Hurdles

          Yes, lefts hope so because we certainly cannot have any heretics questioning the dogma of the Elitist left!

        3. hoola Silver badge

          Re: Hurdles

          Based on his past interactions with regulators I don't think he gives a stuff.

          I also don't think he actually understands "Free Speech" and that it comes with responsibility. Already the constant bleating about "Free Speech" has had serious negative consequences where a minority view gets coverage out of all proportion to the (usually harmful) effect it has.

          Just look at all the anti-vax followers on Facebook or the time taken to remove the abhorrent content like execution videos.

          Musk does not believe in regulation and like all the self-driving/auto pilot issues with Tesla, appears largely immune to the authorities holding the companies to account.

          1. FeepingCreature Bronze badge

            Free speech doesn't come with responsibility

            It comes with costs. If you have a responsibility to police your speech (according to whom?) then it isn't free. I instead view it as, sometimes people say harmful things; this is a cost imposed on society. And that's okay.

            It'd be similar to say "democracy comes with responsibility." No it doesn't! You can vote for whoever you want, for any reason! Sometimes as a result of this bad things will happen, and that's one of the costs that democracy carries with it. As a society we pay those costs, because we believe that the alternative would have other, and possibly higher, costs.

          2. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

            Re: Hurdles

            > serious negative consequences where a minority view gets coverage out of all proportion to the (usually harmful) effect it has.

            That's precisely the problem with Twitter now, and is precisely the problem which Musk is intending to rebalance..

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Hurdles

          On what basis do you think there will be regulatory issues?

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "there are no serious regulatory hurdles to overcome"

        Given Musk's previous history with US financial regulators over his use of Twitter I can't imagine them being enthused by this. Whether they have cause to act, other than take a long time to review it, I don't know. Apart from that, non-US countries are increasingly reacting to the behaviour of multinational online businesses, e.g.the EU's Digital Services Act. I think a good few of them are going to want to take an interest.

        1. Cliffwilliams44 Bronze badge

          So what! Musk makes a comment and a stock price moves! Yet these same regulators allow Politician in Congress to engage in blatant insider trading and do nothing!

          Hypocrites on and all!

    2. Jon 37

      Many of the shareholders will support the deal. They get to sell their shares for more than the pre-announcement price.

      The regulators are unlikely to care much. Musk isn't a competitor to Twitter and there's no monopoly.

      1. sabroni Silver badge
        Boffin

        re: there's no monopoly.

        Effectively there is, no other twit style platform has the reach of Twitter.

        What's important is there's no money in this monopoly.

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: re: there's no monopoly.

          >What's important is there's no money in this monopoly.

          In this context it makes sense to get rid of the shareholders and board - who are effectively there to look after shareholder interests and not the interests of the actual business.

    3. DrXym Silver badge

      I also read an interesting comment this morning that Musk is borrowing billions to fund this acquisition and that the payments & interest on this sum of money would exceed Twitter's annual net income. So buying Twitter is loss making plan straight out of the gate.

      Unless he can find some way of growing the business or bringing in new revenue he's basically pissing money down the sink for the sake of his own vanity.

      1. ForthIsNotDead
        Thumb Up

        Just charge for access

        I mean... why not. Say... a dollar a month? It would instantly cleanse the platform of the millions of bots, and all the pink-haired gender-fluid Marxist (well, they think they're Marxist, they've never actually experienced it themselves, of course) millennials living in their parents basements.

        Happy days.

        1. Zippy´s Sausage Factory
          Meh

          Re: Just charge for access

          I find many people who claim to be Marxists, or who throw shade at Marxists, haven't actually read any Marx to begin with. (And nearly all regimes that claim to be "communist" or "Marxist" tend to use the word as window dressing for kleptocratic authoritarianism, much the same way as any country that uses "democratic" in its name does, but I digress)

          You may disagree with some of his economic thinking (and I do), but his documenting of the working standards of the time (and especially of slavery) are hard to read.

          1. Cliffwilliams44 Bronze badge

            Re: Just charge for access

            If you carefully examine these peoples ideology they are in fact Fascists! But they would horrified if you told them that!

            1. fandom

              Re: Just charge for access

              Communists are often outraged when you tell them that fascism is just communism in which the slaves are given a little freedom.

              Just a little,mind you.

              1. Dave 126 Silver badge

                Re: Just charge for access

                > Communists are often outraged when you tell them that fascism is just communism in which the slaves are given a little freedom.

                Their outrage probably suggests that they didn't get into the communism game because they supported fascist policies. It suggests that their intentions might be broadly in the right place, but that more studying of history might be a good thing, along with economics, the management of supply and demand (which the Soviet model failed at).

                I could write the same about capitalists, too. I don't think most are crypto-facists either.

            2. Zippy´s Sausage Factory

              Re: Just charge for access

              They're definitely not communists as Marx envisioned it, but then he had a pretty utopian vision in mind. Weirdly, he derides socialism for being this somehow out-of-touch fantasyland and then proceeds to go a step beyond. And yet, Robert Owen* got on the fiver** and he didn't. Quel surprise.

              * a man I'd class as an actual socialist - unlike, for example, anyone who's ever been a head of state.

              ** or was it the tenner? It's a while back and I can't quite remember.

        2. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: Just charge for access

          >millennials living in their parents basements.

          Wow. Their parents had job opportunities and lower house prices. Are you seriously blaming the kids for economic (and lack of house-building) policies enacted before they were born?

          And what exactly has their hair colour got to with anything? Why the attack on their appearance? Is it because ultimately you know their is some truth in what they feel, and so you can't debate issues on their merits? Or is it that you respond to wolfwhistles, designed to stoke your fears?

          Look at the history of powerful companies defending their interests. The tobacco companies used tactics to weaken the power of statistics in the popular imagination. The oil companies took these tactics and built upon them. You would expect nothing less as a shareholder - the company should use every means to further its interests - the system has worked 'as intended'. Now, it is organisations that profit from the asset-rich that feed this culture war bollocks to muffle the voices of the least powerful in society. And today have a bunch of middle aged folk sat around a pub table saying repeatedly "We're just not allowed to say anything anymore!" when it's hard to think of a demographic in history for which that has been less true.

          Yes, some youngsters are in their parents' basements. And they are a bit naffed-off about it.

        3. KSM-AZ

          Re: Just charge for access

          Stalinists, not Marists. If someone has an opinion you don't agree with you shut them down. Or just kill them. Or ridicule them. My guess is most the anti-free speech rhetoric th this comment section is from trolls and such. It's much easier to shout down or censor an opinion you don't like than make an argument against it.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        He can simply invest more of his own money and pay down the debt once he owns it.

      3. jmch Silver badge

        "I also read an interesting comment this morning that Musk is borrowing billions to fund this acquisition and that the payments & interest on this sum of money would exceed Twitter's annual net income"

        It actually says right there in the article that expected interest repayments are approx $1bn vs approx $1.8bn cash flow. Now of course cash flow isn't the same as net income, but it still gives a good indication that Twitter isn't in over it's head. (anyone more versed in balance sheets is welcome to expand on this!!)

        I've always found the idea of debt leveraging a company to buy it out to be a bit dodgy, but then again it's not that much different from a gigantic buy-to-let mortgage, is it? Musk might be many things but he's no mug in business, for sure he will have solid plans to increase Twitter's revenue.

        1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          I've always found the idea of debt leveraging a company to buy it out to be a bit dodgy

          It's a practice that should be banned - it (pretty much) directly lead to the demise of Toys 'R Us (and a few other companies taken over by VCs using debt-loaded buyouts where the expected revenue didn't arrive in quantities such that the debt could be serviced).

          Sure - Musk *could* pay the interest charges but I suspect he'll get bored with the rigmarole of running a company like Twitter - it's not like it's making a physical produce like Tesla or SpaceX and it faces legal hurdles (like Section 230[1]) that his other companies don't. Once he gets bored he'll then try to sell it off and almost certainly won't get back anything like what he paid for it - and Twitter will still have the debt loading it down.

          [1] The US law that says companies like Twitter/Facebook et. al. are not responsible for user-generated content but that they must remove anything illegal or promoting illegality. The Repubs hate it because it limits their ability to be racist, homophobic and tell lies about Covid/climate change etc etc. Musk will be in a world of hurt if he starts ignoring it in search of Freeze Peach..

          1. Cliffwilliams44 Bronze badge

            "[1] The US law that says companies like Twitter/Facebook et. al. are not responsible for user-generated content but that they must remove anything illegal or promoting illegality. The Repubs hate it because it limits their ability to be racist, homophobic and tell lies about Covid/climate change etc etc. Musk will be in a world of hurt if he starts ignoring it in search of Freeze Peach.."

            "To be racist, homophobic and tell lies about Covid/climate change etc etc"

            Is not illegal! Speaking racism, speaking homophobia is not illegal! Acting on those beliefs in some ways can be illegal!

            But let's look at the term "lies" shall we?

            The Trump Campaign colluded with the Russians: Lie

            The Covid-19 Virus was a natural occurrence: Lie

            The NIAID was not funding gain of function research at the Wuhan lab: Lie

            Hunter Biden's laptop is Russian Disinformation: Lie

            Police in America are murdering innocent black men by the thousands: Lie

            Yet none of these lies were subject to removal from Social Media!

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              [citation needed x 5]

            2. jmch Silver badge

              The reality is, every one of these sentences is a compressed soundbite that has a grain of truth, but whose subtleties cannot really be expressed in a 140-character limit. Unfortunately too many people on either end of the spectrum are unwilling to have an honestly open intellectual debate. Preaching to the converted (and riling them up even more to the extremes) is much more attention-grabbing (and therefore profitable).

              The Trump Campaign colluded with the Russians: Not sure about 'colluded' but they sure as hell were happy to sit back and allow Putin to meddle to get Trump elected.

              The Covid-19 Virus was a natural occurrence: Lie-ish. Evidence is questionable either way, but certainly there is enough doubt to be cast on the official 'naturally occurring' story. Occam's razor and Hanlon's Razor point to a risky experiment that was accidentally released, but China's determination to not lose face has probably gotten rid of any conclusive evidence.

              The NIAID was not funding gain of function research at the Wuhan lab: Probably a lie. It's no secret that the Wuhan lab was being funded in part by the US. Maybe not specifically for 'gain of function' research, but that's probably just plausible deniability.

              Hunter Biden's laptop is Russian Disinformation: ??? I got nothing

              Police in America are murdering innocent black men by the thousands: False, but true if you replace 'thousands' with 'hundreds', and in many cases for varying degrees of 'innocent'

              1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                Covid's origins are curious. Prior to the outbreak, a couple of miners got sick & died after being sent to clean guano in a remote mine. Their symptoms were reportedly a lot like Covid-19. The Wuhan lab was involved in that investigation, and collected samples. What isn't clear is what happened next.

                But one of those situations where the cover up has allowed conspiracy theories to flourish, or just expose how bioweapon research gets outsourced.

              2. FeepingCreature Bronze badge

                My amusing pet theory about Covid is that it was a natural occurrence, but Chinese mid-level functionaries covered it up as if it was a lab leak, purely on the chance that it was and they just didn't know about it.

              3. codejunky Silver badge

                @jmch

                "The reality is, every one of these sentences is a compressed soundbite that has a grain of truth"

                Quite a large grain of truth. Very large.

                "Not sure about 'colluded' but they sure as hell were happy to sit back and allow Putin to meddle to get Trump elected."

                Aka no it was a lie. Worst than that the Dems did collaborate with Russia to fabricate a false dossier on Trump and it seems broke the law to promote said lies. Currently there is a very serious investigation into Clinton and the dems for their severe misinformation campaign while the FBI and CIA have been pointed out as weaponised against a presidential candidate even after they identified the dossier as garbage.

                "but certainly there is enough doubt to be cast on the official 'naturally occurring' story."

                Which the US intelligence identified as most likely from the lab back in April 2020 but yet this was being pushed as a fringe theory and fake news right up until Biden won the election and then changed his tune-

                https://www.theepochtimes.com/memo-reveals-state-department-assessed-in-early-2020-lab-leak-was-most-likely-origin-of-covid-19_4387879.html

                "It's no secret that the Wuhan lab was being funded in part by the US. Maybe not specifically for 'gain of function' research, but that's probably just plausible deniability."

                Watch Fauci twist and turn under questioning. Especially when Rand Paul calls him out for the changing of the meaning 'gain of function' to exclude the gain of function research being funded. And of course the research generally being called gain of function.

                "Hunter Biden's laptop is Russian Disinformation: ??? I got nothing"

                How do you have nothing? It was fake news and such a laptop didnt exist. Then it existed but was Russian disinformation. Then it turns out to be true and they are doing damage control to try and protect Joe Biden and the Biden family as are referred to in communications on the laptop. The guy who had the laptop and reporting it fearing how far the cover up would go as the evidence was silenced, so he gave a copy to a lawyer who submitted it separately.

                If you missed this serious story you should consider why your news sources have missed this severe corruption story. Its pretty bad.

                "False, but true if you replace 'thousands' with 'hundreds', and in many cases for varying degrees of 'innocent'"

                Glad you identify its a lie. But then you suggest it could be considered true if the overall number of deaths is reduced considerably AND that the definition of innocence is moved away from innocent. Aka redefine reality and anything is true.

                "Unfortunately too many people on either end of the spectrum are unwilling to have an honestly open intellectual debate."

                Going back to this line, hell yes. Reading both sides gives a very different and entirely alternate reporting of the facts. So much so that things considered a lie previously have been shown to be the truth and the collaboration to perpetuate the lie is scary as hell.

          2. KSM-AZ

            It's much easier to shout down ideas you disagree with, than support an argument to dispute it. What you need to do is label every word as 'racist', and 'homophobic'. After all everyone knows unless you agree that the earth is going to melt and it's mans fault, and we are all gonna die unless we stop using oil, nuclear power, and live in an organic farm commune, then you are obviously a racicist homophobe, and your opinions have no merit. Sorry tight asses.

      4. Cliffwilliams44 Bronze badge

        Twitter, since it went public has been a losing proposition/ The company has not made a significant profit in years! The stock price has been a bad investment. Musk could turn that around. Or not! It remains to be seen!

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "authenticating all humans" will make him billions, when he can sell your hard digital identity to anyone with enough cash.

  3. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    Does anyone really believe ...

    ... Musk will publish the source code for the "Tesla over-valued" tweet deleter?

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Does anyone really believe ...

      Does anyone really believe that Musk, who bitched loudly and longly about the teenager tracking his private aircraft, is actually a proponent of "absolute freedom of speech"?

      If you do, I've got a bridge to sell you. Lightly used ...

      1. DrXym Silver badge

        Re: Does anyone really believe ...

        It's only free speech when you agree with his inane ideas and stupid memes. If you disagree with him, then it's not free speech. Or perhaps he expects his army of nerd fanboys to dogpile anyone who dares criticize him, the crypto ponzis he promotes, or the products he makes.

      2. Annihilator Silver badge

        Re: Does anyone really believe ...

        To be fair, you've misunderstood free speech then. Musk hasn't tried to sue or threaten the guy for doing it, he just asked him to stop. He then offered him money to stop after the guy asked for a Model 3 to stop, the guy asked for more, Musk backed away, presumably realising that the data the guy was tweeting was readily available and 20 more people would spring up a twitter bot sharing the same info knowing it was worth $x to do so.

        For clarity, I'm no fan of Musk. But that wasn't a free speech issue.

      3. Someone Else Silver badge

        Re: Does anyone really believe ...

        If you do, I've got a bridge to sell you. Lightly used ...

        Is that that bridge outside of Pittsburgh?

        1. Claptrap314 Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: Does anyone really believe ...

          Probably somewhere in Russia

    2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: Does anyone really believe ...

      Whatever he promises will:-

      - Be years late - FSD trip across the USA in 2016

      - have its price increased every month (he's gotta get the $44B back somehow)

      - Have feature removed without warning because he was told that no one used it (Granny charger and lumbar support in the seats)

      - Have automatic banning for anyone who dares comment on things like those above.

      Emperor Elon the 1st... He who must be obeyed.

  4. Rob F

    Does anyone recall the downfall of Digg?

    It only takes another platform to scale out and take the attention away to heavily disrupt Twitter. The Twitter Infrastructure blog has always had interesting posts on what they've been doing https://blog.twitter.com/engineering/en_us/topics/infrastructure and although they have their secret sauce IP on how things work, it wouldn't surprise me if an equivalent couldn't be quickly brought to compete with it. The bigger problem, if it could be overcome, would be financing it.

    1. Cederic Silver badge

      Re: Does anyone recall the downfall of Digg?

      Out of curiosity, why would anybody want/need to? There are already alternatives, including Parler, Gettr and Truth Social, none of which have achieved mass market appeal.

      Twitter has the user base, and that means it has the traffic, and the traffic draws viewers and becomes self-perpetuating.

      That doesn't mean that it can't be disrupted but all those people posting on Twitter would need strong incentive to move away. Musk doesn't appear to be threatening anybody, he hasn't suggested he'd prevent people posting what they already post and he's explicitly invited his critics to stick around.

      The only thing that seems likely to change is that fewer people will be prevented from participating in online discourse because of so-called wrongthink, so really Twitter has a chance to grow even further.

      1. trindflo Bronze badge
        Flame

        Re: Does anyone recall the downfall of Digg?

        Medical disinformation kills people. Giving snake-oil salesmen a megaphone is hardly a social service.

        1. FeepingCreature Bronze badge

          Re: Does anyone recall the downfall of Digg?

          First of all, anything kills people at scale. Sofas kill people.

          Second, if you could reliably recognize medical disinformation, preferably automatically, you'd change the world. Note that "comes from the government" or "comes from a peer-reviewed publication with p < 0.05" are *not* safe indicators that something isn't disinformation!

          1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

            Re: Does anyone recall the downfall of Digg?

            Ban bathrooms, kitchens and sheds, and you'd dramatically reduce deaths and injuries.

            Problem with 'misinformation' is who decides? Especially with complex stuff like medicine. So good'ol Ivermectin for example. That was rapidly denied, and roundly ridiculed with the FDA telling people 'You are not a horse'.

            Neither were the millions of people treated with Ivermectin for river blindness, and other parasitic diseases.

            But such is politics. Twitterati seem content to consider it a 'horse pill', because that's the way it's been marketed to them. It's obviously a misleading statement given the millions of doses given to humans. But at the time it was denied, the 'fact checkers' could not have known the truth. Medicine usually decides that after research and formal trials.

            Same's true for other forms of denial. mRNA vaccines are perfectly safe, and saying otherwise makes you an anti-vaxxer. Some time and millions in profits... I mean doses later, there's a clearer picture. So young people developing heart damage. Still only around 38 per 100,000. So given the risk, it seems reasonable to question policy, especially when that's encouraging people to get vaccinated against something where there's already a low risk.

        2. Cliffwilliams44 Bronze badge

          Re: Does anyone recall the downfall of Digg?

          So what! It is not illegal!

          The medical establishments went on a 30 year campaign against eggs and butter promoting corporate produces margarine as the "healthier" alternative! Early on these mega corporations in the processed food industry knew that trans-fats were dangerous to humans yet hid the research and did nothing! Thousands if not millions of people world wide died of heart disease because of this!

          Someone saying "The Vaccine does not stop the spread of covid" Which is actually the truth IS NOT misinformation and pales in comparison!

          Someone else saying there are trackers in the vaccines is just, well, dumb! Every semi-intelligent person should realize that. It is not the government's nor corporation's business to make that determination! THAT is up to the individual.

      2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Re: Does anyone recall the downfall of Digg?

        Not so sure about Twitterer migration (and I really want to call them Twats).

        As you say, there are plenty of alternatives. But I've never really understood social media, and how some influencers have made bank from 140 chars or less. I figure that will be the driver, so followers migrating, forcing influencers to follow the herd. Kind of a Trump scenario, although a lot of his Twitter followers didn't bother.

        I guess the acid test will be what the advertisers make of it, and if it'll affect Twitter's revenue, and it's influencers sponsorship deals. Musk might attract more advertisers, or scare them away if there's a perceived tilt to the right.

        An expensive gamble though, and bad timing given popping corn and oil's getting expensive.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Does anyone recall the downfall of Digg?

        LOL, Parler, Gettr, and Truth Social (How Orwellian) are the worst when it comes to free speech.

        You can't even make any demonstrably factual post if it's considered "leftie"

        In addition, "Truth Social" even has in its terms of conditions that you aren't allowed to criticise Donald Trump!

        These sites are simply used by nutjob conspiracy theorists, whose only pleasure in life is "owning the libs".

        Unfortunately for these sites, their numbers will always be low because it turns out that to troll the libs, you actually need libs in the audience.

        If you want to worship the leader, North-Korea style, these sites are just for you. Fortunately, most of the people value democracy.

        1. Cliffwilliams44 Bronze badge

          Re: Does anyone recall the downfall of Digg?

          @AC who is a lying coward! Just making things up as he goes along!

          "In addition, "Truth Social" even has in its terms of conditions that you aren't allowed to criticise Donald Trump!"

          Lie: https://help.truthsocial.com/legal/terms-of-service/

          The word Trump doesn't appear anywhere in these terms, not does any statement saying you cannot criticize the "owners" of Truth Social.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Does anyone recall the downfall of Digg?

            Comes under term 4, "[no false, or misleading, information in your Contribution]", which I'm sure most of their moderation team would consider criticism of Trump to be.

      4. Danny 2 Silver badge

        Re: Does anyone recall the downfall of Digg?

        "Musk doesn't appear to be threatening anybody"

        Aye, and Putin is just demilitarising the Ukraine, and deNazifying the Ukraine, and generally deUkrainisng Ukraine. I look forward to Putin's pal Trump back on Twitter. Free hate speech!

        Well, at least we enjoyed a good election result in Slovenia.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Does anyone recall the downfall of Digg?

          well, that excalated quickly!

      5. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: Does anyone recall the downfall of Digg?

        "The only thing that seems likely to change is that fewer people will be prevented from participating in online discourse because of so-called wrongthink,"

        Others can and have argued the accuracy of that statement. There's only one thing I want to say about it. Nobody says "wrongthink". Really nobody. It can't be so-called if nobody calls it so.

        The 1984-ishness of it means that, even if someone thinks it exists and wants to talk about it, they'd never use that term. The people who think others are accusing them of it don't use the word; they've made up other words. It's not even the word used for that in 1984 itself. That is thoughtcrime, later updated to crimethink.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Does anyone recall the downfall of Digg?

          So what you are saying is that wrongthink is wrongthink?

          Okay. If you say so.

      6. Cliffwilliams44 Bronze badge

        Re: Does anyone recall the downfall of Digg?

        Parler was growing 10 times faster that twitter and getting larger. Then it was shamefully attacked for something it had nothing to do with! It was accused of being the planning app for Jan 6 then the facts came out that all that planning was done on Facebook!

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Does anyone recall the downfall of Digg?

      "it wouldn't surprise me if an equivalent couldn't be quickly brought to compete with it."

      Didn't some genius already try that? It doesn't seem to be quite as easy as he thought :-)

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mastodon seems to be a great beneficiary

    New sign ups on Mastodon (the decentralised alternative to Twitter) have exploded on the back of this news.

    They used to have about 50 signs an hour on all the public servers combined. After the Musk news from a few weeks ago that doubled but now in the last few hours it has exploded to over 2000 sign ups an hour. The owner behind the second largest Mastodon instance already mentioned last week that sign ups (and old users returning) had picked up dramatically, they must be really feeling it now.

    Anyway, I have dusted off my old Mastodon account and noticed that I'm not the only one. Quite a few people I used to follow on Twitter seem to have made the move today.

    For anyone who is interested, this is a great starting point: https://joinmastodon.org/communities. The idea is that you choose an initial community that fits (or the general one if you're indecisive) but you can chat and connect with anyone in any community and even move your account between communities at a later date.

    1. Def Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Mastodon seems to be a great beneficiary

      And for those who are not interested, as you were.

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Re: Mastodon seems to be a great beneficiary

        That's been part of the fun. The MSM seems very agitated about the perceived threat to a 'vital' communications service. RoW shrugs and wonders what the fuss is about. I've sent a grand total of 0 Tweets since 2006.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Authenticate all humans"?

    How close to a supervillain does he have to come before it becomes obvious?

    On the upside, maybe we're seeing the waning of social media. That'd do us all some good!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Authenticate all humans"?

      He'll probably link it with the company of his friend Peter Thiel, Fascism Inc. Palantir to verify and exchange data.

    2. Blank Reg Silver badge

      Re: "Authenticate all humans"?

      I don't think he's smart enough to be a supervillian, maybe just your generic run of the mill villian

      1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

        Re: "Authenticate all humans"?

        I wonder if he's smart enough to spell "villain" correctly?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Authenticate all humans"?

      I just read that in Bender's voice.

      "Hey, baby, wanna authenticate all humans?"

      1. Jonathon Green
        Boffin

        Re: "Authenticate all humans"?

        I thought it was more of a Daley thing….

        “Authenticate! Authenticate!”

    4. TheFifth

      Re: "Authenticate all humans"?

      I was thinking that authenticating all humans would instantly turn off all the freedom loving free speech advocates he's trying to attract. Can't see all those libertarians being keen to hand over their details so they can be authenticated. Or is Elon somehow trusted to look after personal data?

      Also, I love the way he just throws out there that he'll get rid of all the bots. Like it will be that easy. The fact that he thinks it's easy shows that he really hasn't a clue what running a massive social media company entails.

      My guess is it will become another one of Elon's famous promises, like full self driving in 6 months (in 2017), solar roof deployments in 2017, Tesla semi to be produced in 2019, new Gigafactories to be announced in 2017, turn-around and reuse a rocket within 24 hours (2019), autonomous robo-taxis by 2020, and don't get me started on some of his Space-X Mars mission timelines.

      Musk is great at (self) promotion. It's real easy to say all these things, and it's great for getting funding or raising your profile, but actually doing it is hard. He talks a good talks, but he's never been a 'details' guy. He reminds me of a guy I used to work for. Promises the world to clients (or investors) and then hands the problem of actually doing it to someone else (me at the time!).

      1. Claptrap314 Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: "Authenticate all humans"?

        "Musk is great at (self) promotion. It's real easy to say all these things, and it's great for getting funding or raising your profile, but actually doing it is hard. He talks a good talks, but he's never been a 'details' guy. He reminds me of a guy I used to work for. Promises the world to clients (or investors) and then hands the problem of actually doing it to someone else (me at the time!)."

        Sadly, that's more-or-less the job description of a CEO.

        For crying in -------------------->>>>>>>

    5. Ken G Bronze badge
      Holmes

      Re: "Authenticate all humans"?

      That probably just means we have to spot more buses, bikes and traffic lights to log on. Tesla's self driving AI needs all the help it can get.

  7. jollyboyspecial

    Think of all the good you could do with 44 billion dollars...

    Then consider spending it on a debt ridden social media platform which may never b turn a profit.

    Or maybe you could use some of it to pay a load of tax arrears. Just a thought. Second thoughts maybe this is just something to use as a tax write off for the next few decades.

    1. Yes Me Silver badge

      Except that he's borrowing $25,000,000,000.00 and the interest on that will be quite a bit that he may not be able to write off.

      1. DS999 Silver badge

        Business interest is deductible, why would you think he won't be able to deduct it?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Pretty much why all business deals are structured using debt. Even Apple are currently around $100bn in debt.

        What's the point in having a load of capital assets if you can't leverage debt out of them?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          re: Apple Debt mountain

          Apple could pay that all off tomorrow should they so wish. As Apple is worth around $2T, its debt/asset ratio is very small which makes the debt very cheap to service.

          Most other companies with a significant amount of debt can't do that.

          Discalimer: I do not own shares in Apple. never have done and never will.

          1. Annihilator Silver badge

            Re: re: Apple Debt mountain

            They'd have to liquidate assets to do that, which wouldn't happen "tomorrow" - they still have a net debt that they couldn't pay off in cash. They've effectively mortgaged the company (their net debt is around $90bn).

            Their "worth" is slightly irrelevant though - their assets are around $300bn. So debt/asset ratio of around 1:3, which is great, but not comparable to the market cap figures of $2T

            1. DS999 Silver badge

              Re: re: Apple Debt mountain

              As of January, Apple had $66 billion in POSITIVE net cash. They could pay off that debt tomorrow if they wished. They said back in 2018 they'd work to reduce their net cash to zero, and are expected to reach that position in a couple years.

              1. Annihilator Silver badge

                Re: re: Apple Debt mountain

                They haven't - they've got around $34.9b in cash based on last balance sheet. ($62.6b in terms of cash and cash equivalents if you want to include that, but people don't). They've got $124.7b in debt. They couldn't pay that down without liquidating non-cash assets. They've got a net debt position of $89.8b. That's based on last balance sheet - I'm sure it's changed by now, but not to the point they're net positive - and they'd be foolish to do that anyway.

                https://www.benzinga.com/news/22/01/25182891/what-does-apples-debt-look-like

                https://finance.yahoo.com/quote/AAPL/balance-sheet/

        2. DS999 Silver badge

          Apple's debt has nothing to do with the deductibility of interest, which is tiny at the rates Apple was able to borrow the money.

          As interest rates finally begin to rise, Apple will stop issuing new debt as it won't make sense for their purpose.

  8. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Windows

    "unlock the potential of Twitter"

    Well, if Musk can actually make something useful out of a bunch of twats, good for him.

    I'll still ignore the whole thing.

  9. Franco Silver badge

    Improve Twitter?

    He also owns SpaceX so he can "Nuke it from orbit. It's the only way to be sure."

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Improve Twitter?

      that might be 'Plan B'

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Alien

        Re: Improve Twitter?

        If it's coming from Outer Space, it can only be Plan 9!!

  10. HildyJ Silver badge
    Holmes

    End game?

    Musk will take Twitter into a new metaverse to compete with Zuck's.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: End game?

      Zuck hasn't missed me since I deleted my FB account a few years ago, I guess Musky won't as I do the same with my Twitter account. Even LinkedIn is becoming a waste of time (unless you like reading a stream that is 95% adverts and Facebook fodder) and I'll probably quit from there. My leaving will make no difference to any of them, but it makes a difference for me - less stress at reading all the <censored>.

  11. Chancellor

    Dichotomy

    Will we see an end to the modern blurring of subjective into distanced, academic objectivity?

  12. spold Silver badge

    Rebranding inevitable

    I think it is going to be called Mutter.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Rebranding inevitable

      I think it'll be rebranded Stoner.

      1. trindflo Bronze badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Rebranding inevitable

        Given Musk's open advocacy that anyone should be allowed to sh!tpost anything, a different rebranding comes to mind.

  13. IceC0ld

    the Musky one HAS said he sees the Twitter future as one where you PAY to be a part of it ...........

    if, as you state, it LOST $5 BILLION last year

    and, it has 300 MILLION users, then at approx $3 per user per annum will generate $1 BILLION income, so say he ups that to around the $20 per YEAR / annum, it will now cover costs, but only costs as they stand NOW, who knows what else he has in mind, and whether they will ever bear fruit

    personally, I believe he will just feck around with it, money means nothing to him, he has more than anyone ever in the history of mankind ffs

    he offered to solve WORLD hunger if the UN could provide detailed plan of how they would achieve that, the UN provided said plans, the Musky one did NOT give the $$, and that was at a far lower cost of IIRC $25 BILLION

    I DO use Twitter, small account few 000's of followers, but as a free toy, it is there to play with, if it goes to a pay to use, bearing in mind that this would be the FIRST major social site to do so, you would really need to examine if you wish to pay, even a nominal sum, just to play ?

    also wondering about how he would actually go about implementing his idea of 'Free Speech' ?

    will he go the 4CHAN route with all the goodness THAT option provided us with over the years

    or does he envision a return to the great FLAME wars of IRC of yore ?

    for me though, the temptation would be to remain, mainly so I can call him a cnut on a daily basis, because, you know, freedom of speech

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You seem to be suffering a mild case of Bobitis.

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Trollface

        eh, what would THAT be anyway?

        1. Def Silver badge
          Coat

          Catching, apparently.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          https://github.com/ScottKnights/Misc/blob/main/bobify-text.ps1

    2. eldakka Silver badge
      Boffin

      he has more than anyone ever in the history of mankind

      Wish people would stop saying this, he hasn't.

      You have to remember that historically, people could outright personally own countries.

      Augustus Caesar/Ocatavian personally owned Egypt, lock stock and barrel. One of the richest countries in the world at the time. He is rumoured to have personally owned 1/5th of the entire Roman Empire's economy.

      Rockefeller was worth more than $400billion inflation-adusted.

      There have even been inflation-adjusted estimates of trillions for some historical figures.

      1. Len
        Meh

        King Leopold II of Belgium personally owned Congo (it wasn’t a Belgian colony but a personal possession of the King) and that has through time, up until today, been considered the richest country in the world when it comes to natural assets. That’s also their major problem. It has the mother of all ‘Resource curses’.

        1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

          Leopold managed the Congo so appallingly (including shipping some Congolese over to Belgium to put them in a zoo) that it provoked almost universal disgust across Belgium, and it was eventually taken from him by the state (or "woke lefties" as I expect they'd be called today).

          So little was given back that I believe when Belgium eventually pulled out in the 50s they left a total of just 17 university educated people, to run a country with the same land area as Europe. I agree with the resource curse, but I would argue that their mercifully unique colonial legacy is perhaps as much of a problem. f you were going to be colonised by anyone, Belgium would have literally been your last choice.

          1. Claptrap314 Silver badge

            Per wikipedia:

            Area of Belgian Congo: 2,344,000 km2 (905,000 sq mi)

            Area of Europe: 10,180,000 km² (3,930,519.97 sq mi)

            You would do much better to be careful with your facts. Then your opinions might be taken more seriously.

            1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

              Quoting wikipedia, snarky superior response without adding any real value, and a complete failure to understand the concept of generalisation (neatly demonstrated by quoting a rough area to 1/100th of a square mile). You're a fine example of why the internet is a shit place.

              The geographic "west of the Urals" definition you refer to is not the only one, and for most of Europe's history certainly wasn't the primary one. In the 50's - the time period I was referring to - a considerable portion of that area was behind the Iron Curtain and so commonly excluded if you happened to be in "the west", as Belgium was at the time and remains to this day.

              If you'd like to read more on the topic I'd highly recommend "Europe: A HIstory" by Prof Norman Davies, although it's a bit of a doorstop and I'm still only halfway through. I assure you he makes this point himself. Or, if you prefer, you could consider to sit on the sidelines and pick apart ancillary aspects of my comment in the belief that somehow contradicts the point I was making.

      2. tip pc Silver badge

        Mansa Musa.

        https://www.indiatimes.com/trending/human-interest/richest-man-in-the-world-ever-mansa-musa-552879.html

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mansa_Musa

        It’s reported he Took 60k people with him on pilgrimage each with 2kg of gold to give out to the poor and mosques on route.

        Its said he controlled gold mines responsible for 50% of all gold

  14. ghp

    Now all twats will be able to call each other pedo freely.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Meh

      I doubt that pejorative, libelous, or otherwise illegal content will ever be allowed. But with any luck, all such things will receive equal treatment, now.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      But only if they don't mention "kid-sized submarines" which can somehow go through underground caves thought up in a haze of smoke and immediately PUI'd on Twitter.

  15. iowe_iowe

    GOP-ping

    I can't decide whether the man is a genius or an idiot. He's certainly rich. As we face existential risk for the coming generation(s), the idea that someone with so much of a platform could reintroduce Trump to social media is really depressing...

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: GOP-ping

      Trump has apparently been un-banned already on Twitter, but he said he was going to stick to his own 'TRUTH' network and not post on Twitter.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: GOP-ping

        So Trump has promised to not post on Twitter? Sounds like an ironclad guarantee...

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Devil

    TL;DR Analysis

    - On the downside: this is the end of Twitter.

    - On the upside: this is the end of Twitter.

    1. keithpeter Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: TL;DR Analysis

      Phrases from OA: "authenticating all humans", "expand account verification", "lose a good chunk of its revenue to Musk's loans".

      The trajectory to steady state will be interesting even if we can hazard a guess as to where the end point will be.

      1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

        Re: TL;DR Analysis

        Steady state? It was already in Catastrophic Already-Fallen-Off-A-Cliff State, financially. If you look under the hood at the various detailed measures, and look at their trajectory, the headline figures look like a cross between a fool's paradise and a desperately propped up Potemkin farce.

        Elon is not stupid, so he's clearly expecting financial carnage but willing to subsidise it.

    2. Jedit Silver badge
      Angel

      "On the downside: this is the end of Twitter."

      So what's the down side again?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Great Orange one will be getting excited

    Let the twatter begin!

  18. Erik Beall

    Tweet media magnate

    Maybe he wants it for something else. It has proven to be the most impactful "attention-director", forcing all news outlets to repeat whatever a few power users want them to repeat, at very low cost. He's been practicing how to get his tweets amplified through his followers, a method he's been pretty effective at, second only to trump (although our last president had been practicing for decades at attention grabbing). And if he can't be cancelled by the platform, who knows what crazy tweets we'll all be polarized/freaking out about in a years time...

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Tweet media magnate

      I thought our last President was aself admitted well practiced twat grabber?

      1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

        Re: Tweet media magnate

        Worth watching the full video if that's your understanding of what he said.

  19. PhilipN

    Cobblers ...

    ..should stick to their lasts. I mean you, El Reg, Stick to IT.

    He is buying the company i.e. paying existing shareholders for their shares. The $$ goes to them.

    The debt raised by EM to fund the buyout and therefore the interest is his liability, not the company's. There is no reason why it would raise the company's expenses a single cent.

    'Course he may want to force through dividends, or even loans, to help his cash flow but that is not an expense and is routine cash management.

    And he may want to get into more creative financial management - the bankers cannot wait to bump up their pension funds with Elon as a client - affecting the balance sheet and P&L account but that is hypothetical and an entirely different point.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    https://amultiverse.com/comic/2018/07/14/the-problem-solver/

  21. DrXym Silver badge

    It could have one unintended consequence

    Facebook and Twitter have sailed very close to the wind when avoiding regulatory oversight. They self-police with codes of conduct for such things as online harassment, trolling, hate crimes, electoral interference, racism misinformation, bots etc. and occasionally they even enforce them. Certainly not adequately but just enough to stop being compelled to under law.

    If Twitter has a new boss who thinks the rules don't apply to him or his vanity acquisition he might be in for a rude awakening. It might be the shove that countries need to start regulating these kinds of platforms and limiting what they can say in law with penalties for non-enforcement. So for all his talk of "free speech" (i.e. prostrating before Musk and his pearls of wisdom) it might actually become a crack down instead.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: It could have one unintended consequence

      "If Twitter has a new boss who thinks the rules don't apply to him or his vanity acquisition he might be in for a rude awakening. "

      Sounds like The Zuck and Facebook. Look where he's ended up testifying :-)

  22. tip pc Silver badge

    How much will it cost us to close it?

    Could we all donate to a crowd funding page to shutter it for good?

  23. Lucy in the Sky (with Diamonds)

    Journalism vs. Copy & Paste...

    Personally, I have always loved reading the news...

    But, as soon as the author starts pasting Twitter posts, I stop reading the article and start on a new one...

    I actually want to read something by a journalist who put effort into writing a story, not pasting a bunch of rants from Twitter...

    1. breakfast

      Re: Journalism vs. Copy & Paste...

      Counterpoint, I have never got news so quickly as happens on Twitter. For events happening in real time, nothing else matches up. For more detailed reporting you need something long-form, but that's always been the case. Most breaking stories are really a tweet's worth of information wrapped in a few paragraphs of speculation and goodness knows you can get the latter on Twitter fairly easily.

    2. Jonathan Richards 1 Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: Journalism vs. Copy & Paste...

      +1

      There also seems to be a trend in the red-top papers here to regurgitate Reddit threads, as if that were journalism, too.

      1. JDPower666 Bronze badge

        Re: Journalism vs. Copy & Paste...

        And as if they were true.

  24. markwilcox2022

    World's richest man set to control world's biggest conversation.

    Aren't people being manipulated enough?

  25. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

    Enlongated Muskrat

    The weed-infused would-be Mars-settler has just done another massive publicity stunt, that's all. He's in the news, yet again. At least it's not Microsoft who bought it. Quite honestly I don't see how it'll improve mankind's lot. He could have spent the money on something to do with poverty or hunger or something more mundane but like all mega-rich people, he has really got no clue what's going on from his lofty perch.

  26. Unicornpiss
    Alert

    If..

    ..Musk decides to let Trump, Q-Anon crazies, and other people from the shallow end of the gene pool back on in the interest of "free speech", he is doing the world a serious disservice, IMO. Next he will possibly campaign for the right to shout "Fire!" in a crowded theatre in the interest of freedom.

    While I respect Mr. Musk's accomplishments and energy, it seems a shame that the secret sauce that drives people to make billions doesn't seem to have wisdom as one of its ingredients.

    But time will tell I suppose, as to what choices are made. I hope he doesn't take his role as this powerful platform's custodian and curator lightly.

    1. genghis_uk

      Re: If..

      If you are going to discuss freedom of speech, may I suggest that you don't use 'Fire in a crowded theatre' as a talking point?

      To anyone in the know about this, it is a red flag that you don't have a clue...

      1) It had nothing to do with freedom of speech - it was written by Justice Holmes in relation to (a really bad) ruling about anti-draft pamphlets breaching the espionage act

      2) The case was actually applying some really draconian restrictions on freedom of speech so this probably is not saying what you think it is

      3) The case was overturned in the 60's so hardly on point

      4) Given the above, everyone seems to miss out the important word in the quote which is

      "The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man FALSELY shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic" (he was wrong!)

      1. fandom

        Re: If..

        He was?

        I mean, if that happened and someone died in the panic, wouldn't he be charged with manslaughter?

      2. Unicornpiss
        Flame

        Re: If..

        Please spare me your rhetoric. This was a valid example. Congrats on utterly missing the point by a parsec or so by dwelling on semantics. And for letting me you're one of the fine folks that is clearly, irrevocably "in the know". Good one. We'll have your plaque shipped out soon.

        While I'm all for free speech being protected, it has to be reasonably true free speech and not the frivolous, self-serving, completely bald-faced lies that Trump has spewed for years. Trump's prior rants on Twitter and other platforms protesting the false election fraud is very much the same as someone yelling "Fire!" in a crowded theatre: They are not true, are entirely constructed for selfish reasons, and the man spewing them 100% knows he is lying and doesn't remotely care. It's not a case of a personal belief being put out there for consideration, or someone's rights being wrongly trampled upon, but a conscious attempt to mislead for personal gain, and very much to the detriment of others. And just like yelling "Fire!" in a crowded theatre, someone is going to get hurt at some point in the confused scramble. (If you look at the events of Jan 6th, many already have been by this megalomaniac's rabble-rousing.) At the very least, "crying wolf" like this desensitizes people from valid, healthy rhetoric and makes it harder for honest, earnest people to express valid points that are a call for truly needed changes.

        1. codejunky Silver badge

          Re: If..

          @Unicornpiss

          "While I'm all for free speech being protected, it has to be reasonably true free speech and not the frivolous, self-serving, completely bald-faced lies that Trump has spewed for years."

          Then thats not free speech. Also who chooses what is a bald-faced lie? Remember the truth of Trumps collusion with Russia. Turned out to be a lie.

          Remember the true Steele report. Turned out to be a lie.

          Trumps false claims that the FBI has Hunter Bidens laptop. Turned out to be true.

          Trumps lie that the covid virus came from the lab. Turns out to be probably true and most likely according to the security services back in April 2020.

          According to Biden the Afghanistan withdrawal was a success. After failing his own objectives and videos of babies being thrown over a fence and people falling off a plane.

          Right now the Democrats are being seriously investigated for their actions in the 2016 election. The Bidens for their actions in Ukraine and more related to the laptop. We have seen the fact checking efforts on social media having to do a 180.

          "Trump's prior rants on Twitter and other platforms protesting the false election fraud is very much the same as someone yelling "Fire!" in a crowded theatre"

          And Democrat support of BLM riots caused a considerably worse situation. I would hold off saying 'false election fraud' as its still being contested. True or false we have seen the severe corruption and misinformation desperately pushed over the last few years, and not just from the source you fear!

          This is where free speech matters. Doesnt matter who is spouting the nonsense the need of freedom of speech is to allow contest of ideas and opinions. The more bald faced the lie the easier to contest and the more free we should wish speech to be.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Elongated Muskstick

    An acquired taste indeed.

    Involves lots of sucking.

  28. IGotOut Silver badge

    One the good side..

    "making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating the spam bots, and authenticating all humans"

    Well, if you want to see nothing but politicians, narcasistsvand "reporters" Left, it's a good start.

    Expect the numbers to drop 90%

  29. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

    I have no idea why people idolise this twerp. He makes his money by creating a cult around his mostly shit and very expensive electric cars. Now what's going to happen? Will he allow Donald Trump back on twitter? Will he allow Tommy Robinson? Will he keep tweeting nonsense just because he can?

  30. Mike Richards

    $2000 per Twitter user?

    That's a lot of money to spend on giving Elon a safe space.

  31. Ken G Bronze badge

    If it is an ego project

    wouldn't buying $40M of Ukrainian government bonds instead result in gold plated statues of him going up post war in every Oblast?

  32. JDPower666 Bronze badge

    "The richest guy on the 2021 Forbes 400 owns the Washington Post. Number 2 now owns Twitter. Number 3 owns Facebook. Numbers 5 and 6 started Google. Numbers 4 and 9 started Microsoft. Number 10 owns Bloomberg. Free speech? You decide."

  33. Nifty Silver badge

    At first I thought, poacher turned gamekeeper. Now thinking, poacher turned landowner.

  34. Someone Else Silver badge

    Blah, Blah, Blah...gak!

    From the article:

    Musk previously said he wanted to unlock the potential of Twitter, which he said hasn't been realized.

    That's very close to the mating call of every hedge-fund manager, ever!

    Often warbled just before said hedge-fund manager rends asunder their object of affection, thereby destroying it forever but insuring a reasonable supply of coke for them and their friends for the near future...

  35. John 104

    So, your takeaway is that Musk should have solved a bunch of other world problems with his wealth? He is a free citizen in what sort of remains a free country. He can do what he pleases with his earnings, that's the way a free economy works.

    I for one am hopeful for this course of action. It's frightening the number of people on that platform and others who want MORE censorship just because they don't agree with someone's point of view. In a free society, speech is the most potent right that an individual can wield. Getting shut down for not following along with the latest mob mentality is not good for any countries future, no matter what your perspective on a particular topic.

  36. Def Silver badge

    My take...

    If I found myself suddenly owning Twitter here's what I'd do... (And what I won't be surprised to see Musk doing.)

    Open source the codebase in the interests of transparency. (He's already said he wants to.)

    Licence the code to anyone who wants to make their own Twitter client - or otherwise embed a twitter feed into their own applications. (Or just licence it for free.)

    Ditch the 140 character limit for paying customers.

    Improve upon the basic functionality. (Edit button, video tweets a-la TikTok, make unicorns that fly out of your butt when you tweet, etc.)

    Market and licence fully featured functionality to news and media companies, stock markets, etc. worldwide.

    Market the whole thing to everyone else as an open, unbiased news aggregator/TikTok/YouTube competitor.

    Integrate the feed into Tesla cars.

    Most of the above wouldn't work for a new company, but Twitter already has almost 400 million users. It has huge potential - that the current management have completely failed to capitalise on.

  37. steviebuk Silver badge

    Does this mean

    He can now say what he wants on Twitter as he'll own it? So does this cancel out his legal requirement to not make bollocks up about Tesla to inflate the shares? As he can say "It my own blogging site, I now own it, I can say what I want" or would he still not be allowed?

    If he's allowed I can see him using it to again, try to inflate Tesla stock.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Does this mean

      It would still be illegal.

      And he would still get away with it. Rich twats do.

    2. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

      Re: Does this mean

      I read this morning that Tesla stock has seen $125Bn wiped off its value

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