back to article Elon Musk flogs $8.4bn of Tesla shares amid Twitter offer drama

Elon Musk has sold $8.4 billion of Tesla shares over the past few days and reportedly wants to hire a new Twitter CEO, after the company's board accepted his offer to privatize the social media biz. The tech billionaire has filed multiple Form 4s, detailing the sale of his Tesla shares with America's SEC this week. He sold 4.4 …

  1. HildyJ Silver badge


    Don't be surprised if we see Elon's best bud, Jack Dorsey, back as CEO of Twitter.

    He resigned because of dissatisfaction with the current board, which will be gone, and irritation with the shareholder, who will also be gone.

    P.S. ElReg® really needs a popcorn icon.

    1. Martin-73 Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: CEO

      Try this icon, it's similar and expresses the same ethos

      1. zuckzuckgo Bronze badge

        Re: CEO

        We need a new icon specifically for twætter

      2. Khaptain

        Re: CEO

        That's the icon for the old regime.

        This is the correct new icon.. because Elon had successfully managed to troll the entre internet... Well done Elon.

    2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      1. ragnar

        Re: CEO

        Who is cuckolding him?

      2. lglethal Silver badge

        Re: CEO

        Are you taking about Jack or Elon?

        1. secret goldfish

          Re: CEO

          Jack by his board......Elon was already cucked by a real but apparently crazy girl

  2. Pseu Donyme


    This acquisition is supposed to be about promoting free speech while what it is on Twitter is in fact to be subjected to the whims of a single person.

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: Irony

      I would have gone with hypocrisy. Is there a better word for saying what a particular group wants to hear to get their support while blatantly doing the opposite? I think we need a new word: hypocracy - rule by someone acting out.

    2. John Miles

      Re: Irony

      It's like democracy - one man one vote and Elon is the man and he'll have the free speech

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
        Big Brother

        Re: Irony

        And post takeover don't you dare post anything that is critical of Tesla/Space X/etc/etc/etc. I'm sure that will get you not only banned but sued as well. Like DJT aka No 45, Elon does not care about the right of free speech unless it is his right. (see icon)

        If twitter becomes the place for the right wing loonies in the USA (Marjorie 'jewish space lasers' Taylor Greene as just one example) then the exodus of people to other platforms will become a tidal wave.

        If this post gets me blacklisted from ever owning a Tesla then so be it. If fact, bring it on. There are plenty of other choices that are a lot better value than his computers on wheels.

        {let the cult downvoting begin}

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Irony

          Right to free seech should not be anonymous, and it should be balanced with responsible use, that is criminally liable.

          If a person is using free speech to whistle blow, anonymity can be offered, the information in the tweet would need to be vetted - AI or moderation should be able to do that, whistle blowing is pretty rare.

          There should be test cases that criticize various topics, particularly those dear to Musk, to make sure his "anything legal is free speech" rhetoric holds up.

          One expression of that free speech was when Tesla shares were shorted, and nearly destroyed his company. He didnt agree with it, but he has to now, as it was all legal, even if it would have unfairly destroyed decades of work.

          Another "free speech" tweet about taking tesla private was illegal, as it violated SEC rules. I presume he now agrees it did not interefere with his free speech rights, contrary to what he said at the time?

          He tends to be slithery with definitions to suit *his* moment.

          There is a circular problem with his current definition - lawmakers need to fix what's wrong with free speech use on social media, but they are benefiting personally from it remaining a broken system. I think the algorithm publication helps here.

          Social media IS a problem, governments aren't doing what's needed. I think he is at least taking a stab at changing it, even if he might make it worse.

          1. jmch Silver badge

            Re: Irony

            "Right to free s[p]eech should not be anonymous" he said, posting anonymously... :)

            On a serious note, there are a few conflating issues here...

            The possibility to be able to post anonymously is what allows activists, whistleblowers etc who live under oppressive regimes to be able to post critical comment without getting rounded up and thrown in a cell. That's a difficult balancing act to work out - you either have anonymity to help the good guys in bad places, but that allows bad actors to also act anonymously, or you force everyone to reveal their identity, which cuts off a valuable channel for people for whom anonymity can be literally a life-saver. Add to that the complexity of a US-based company that is active worldwide under multiple different jurisdictions.

            If I correctly understand the concept of a verified account, if that means Twitter has verified the ID and therefore the person is not anonymous conferring extra privileges... for example people could choose to block all non-verified accounts. The other thing I can think of is an intermediate layer of 'verified anonymous' ie verified to Twitter but pseudonymous to the rest of the platform. Illegal tweets can then be subpoenaed for the user's identity, otherwise a user staying within the rules could stay anonymous to the wider community

      2. IceC0ld

        Re: Irony

        obligatory Terry Pratchett quote needs to be marked up as such, you knows the rules :o)

        “Ankh-Morpork had dallied with many forms of government and had ended up with that form of democracy known as One Man, One Vote. The Patrician was the Man; he had the Vote.”

      3. Grunchy Bronze badge

        Re: Irony

        I was one of the “several hundred thousand” that deleted their Twit account. I dunno, I had it for a few months, made 60 posts in total, had zero interaction with anybody, and witnessed mostly hostility or conspiracy or self-promotion. They make you delete each and every post individually so this was probably the best possible time.

        I’m astonished at the colossal P/E ratio that Tesla currently enjoys, it’s nearly 200:1! No wonder Bill Gates shorted 1/2 billion dollars worth, it’s like free money. I’m too chicken myself, I bought Ford instead (P/E below 4:1).

        I tried out the Mastodon app instead, it doesn’t really make any sense. Apparently it has a “furry” community, yet also has zero members thereof. I think I shall delete that as well.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Irony

      Like the teen that set up a tracker to his private plane on Twitter. Will they be allowed to continue or is not all speech as free as each other.

    4. secret goldfish

      Re: Irony

      As opposed to the whims of a self-serving committee of second-guessed and creepy faux-offence!

      Power wielded and leveraged by an individual or ideological group are both concerning.

      Maybe think of it like the movies Hollywood produces via the same type of creepy committees as opposed to the singular-vision of an auteur like Kubrick......hopefully!

      1. Khaptain

        Re: Irony

        "Maybe think of it like the movies Hollywood produces via the same type of creepy committees as opposed to the singular-vision of an auteur like Kubrick......hopefully!"

        ultimately all commitees have a chaiman who generally has a vote "more equal" that the others memebers so the status quo remains.

    5. Khaptain

      Re: Irony

      The extreme leftists and Wokists mantra states that if you don't like it go somewhere else or build your own....

      Why is that Mantra no longer valid ?

      1. IceC0ld

        Re: Irony

        errr, that particular brand of fuck wittery was the preserve of the far right cretins

        even going so far, in one instance, as to demand that a native American Indian 'went back to where they belonged'

        obviously this one was based IN the USofA :o)

        1. FeepingCreature Bronze badge

          Re: Irony

          The way that the culture war works, is that you are always surrounded by all sites by reasonable people of your own tribe, and yet the news speak only of the insanities of the others.

          I've definitely seen this sort of sentiment from the left.

      2. Insert sadsack pun here Silver badge

        Re: Irony

        "The extreme leftists and Wokists mantra states that if you don't like it go somewhere else or build your own..."

        Extreme leftists aren't known for promoting market-based solutions to social problems. You're talking through your trousers, matey

      3. Insert sadsack pun here Silver badge

        Re: Irony

        "The extreme leftists and Wokists"

        I bloody hate Wokists. What's wrong with a good old fashioned frying pan?

    6. Warm Braw Silver badge

      Re: Irony

      The irony is that, by definition, you can't make a profit from free speech - which is why most of the world's media only exists because the extremely wealthy find it helps to distract the plebs and consolidate their personal power.

      The question is why anyone imagines that Twitter should, or could, be different.

  3. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge

    Hey Elon, I can help!

    wants to replace the current CEO

    I can help Elon sweeten the deal: Offer the CEO (and co) a "free trip" up on SpaceX on goodwill. I am sure they'll get a blast of that.

  4. tonique

    This time I am, perhaps without any particular reason, very amused by Elon Musk's antics. Part of it is that I view Tw*tter (term needs bowdlerising more than several other profanities, and it's funnier that way) as a scourge in curret social media landscape. Well, social media auto-feed is in my opinion rather insidious overall.

    I know, old guy yells at the cloud.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge

      the term you used would be even funnier if you added some parentheses (a SEXIST would say!)

  5. Trigun

    The best scenario is that Elon Musk makes sure that the rules are reviewed, are not biased (I think it's starting to look like they really were) and that they are fair and transparent as I don't think you can have totally 100% free speech without things becoming aweful. You can see Mr Musk ratcheting back a little on that due to rumbles from the EU etc. That way people on the left, the right and in the centre can express themselves unless they are advocating violence (in the traditional meaning) or doxxing people.

    I also would like to see (like I've said before) cool down & edit timers and an effort to moderate peoples' reaction so they have the ability to pull back from an immediate over-reaction to something someone has said. I.e. start taking the negative out of twitter.

    As for Vijaya Gadde. I've not seen anything racist against her thus far (not saying it doesn't exist). What I have definitely seen is her being heavily criticsed for the fact that she *may* (and I emphasise that word) have been involved in decisions to silence or ghost a certain political demographic for their world views. I do sometimes see people conflating criticism of someone with racism or sexism - just something to keep in mind.

    It's going to be interesting to see where this goes.

    1. sad_loser

      Reputation system

      The other thing it needs badly is some sort of reputation system like Slashdot. Unfortunately slashdot stopped evolving in about 2000, but could / should have become the ‘tech Twitter’ and could have moved into non tech.

      Link micropayments with reputation management and a bit of curated content / newsfeed bought in from an impartial source eg BBC and you are printing lots of money.

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Re: Reputation system

        There's the problem.

        The Bbc's very far from impartial on a number of topics. This is the MSM's problem, which includes Twitter. It's also a problem that's getting worse with banning dissenting viewpoints, and the creation of new 'disinformation' units.

        An obvious area where the Bbc is incredibly biased is the way it 'reports' on climate & energy topics. It's been busy promoting Labour's demands for a windfall tax on oil & gas, yet completely ignores (or lies about) the enormous cost of 'renewables' subsidies.

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: Reputation system

          >An obvious area where the Bbc is incredibly biased is the way it 'reports' on climate & energy topics. ... yet completely ignores (or lies about) the enormous cost of 'renewables' subsidies.

          That's not just the BBC, not aware of the Conservatives or any news outlet really going after this one. Which is a little surprising given there was a claim made that if you took account of the hidden subsidies, wind (in the UK) is more expensive than the supposedly outrageous strike price the government agreed for Hinkley Point C...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Reputation system

            >>Which is a little surprising

            which implies there is more to this then that what the two of you say, or what constitutes a "lie" on energy reporting - *especially* if the telegraph did not report the alternative for the consevative angle. The telegraph are so nakedly Conservative party sympathetisers/apologists. Between all of the telegraph not declaring it a lie and JelliedEel declaring it a lie, I'm going to say JelliedEel has got it wrong.

            I do not disagree the BBC has some weaknesses in impartiality on *some* topics, but that is something to be fixed - the overall quality score is rather high.

            It also is probably more of a reflection of the issues in academia, rather than media, where these dissenting views ought to be trashed out, amongst those spending years and decades on the subject, who are also trained to be rigourous in their thinking process and handle critique. This is not happening freely in academia now.

            It is academia that give us knowledge, not twitter or facebook. Each person making up their own mind is not how the font of knowledge, that grew humanity, civilisation and society, was built. Almost all people are ignorant on almost all subjects, and emotional, not factual, when it comes to thought and thinking.

            For eg trans rights and women rights cannot be meaningfully discussed on twitter or facebook, but they are not even discussable in campuses, say amongst sociology, civil rights and women studies groups.

            What is a responsible reporter, looking for evidenced discussion, to do?

            "MSM" I find a term replete with confirmation bias - by definition a fringe view isn't going to become mainstream, because they are typically untrue. And especially when the so called "MSM' scene has plurality of political leanings. The reason usually is that the view is unprovable or slander to those with integrity, despite their political leanings.

            Whilst perhaps the issues in academia creates a deficit, fringe views do more harm than good.

            You'd be replacing a clean wall with a few unwanted green spots ("MSM") with a damp, mold and termite infested wall (all the fringe views in), such that the wall not being the colour you want is the least of your problems.

            1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

              Re: Reputation system

              Many of the people trusted to do 'fact checking' are activists rather than academics. So opinions become 'facts'.

              This is common at the Bbc. Justin Rowlett, previously the Bbc's 'ethical man' has just had a couple of complaints upheld for misleading viewers during a Panorama show about weather

              Show opened stating our world is getting warmer, weather is getting more unpredictable and dangerous, and the death toll is rising. Each claim is arguably untrue, especially deaths. Weather related deaths have been falling, not rising. Cold kills more people than warmth, hence why the Bbc's lies are so dangerous because energy poverty will increase that bodycount. It also claimed that drought in Madagascar is caused by CO2, but there's no correlation.

              Logical inconsistency is also common. Assuming the claim that weather is getting wild & unpredictable might make someone of modest intelligence question the wisdom of relying on wind for energy production. But not Rowlett, so he's either stupid, or dishonest.

              But such is politics. The Bbc tells us 'renewables' are cheap and will save the planet. It doesn't tell us why electricity bills are rising instead of falling, if 'renewables' use free fuel. It also seems unable to explain why rising gas prices increase electricity costs. Ok, that one is simple. When the wind doesn't blow, we burn gas to keep the lights on. Because we've wasted billions on unreliable and unpredictable wind, we've also become more dependent on gas.

              The Bbc also tells us we must fracc. Unless you're the Eden Project. Fraccing apparently won't cut energy bills because gas will just get sold on the open market. Much as the electricity from the 'renewables' scumbags is, but they also get free money from flogging ROCs. As they're mostly unaffected by externalities like wholesale gas prices, there's no justification for 'renewable' electricity to have increased in price so much. Wind farms don't use gas, so why the huge windfall profits?

              But there's more. The Bbc also runs adverts like this one


              About the reinventing the humble power socket. That advertorial demonstrates just how dumb & biased the Bbc is. The new socket is more complex, expensive and prone to failure than a traditional one. It's USP (Uniquely Stupid Premise) is a light that goes green when you're using clean electrons, and red when they're dirty. Neat trick, but rather implausible. There's no way for the socket to determine electron flavour, so instead it does the IoThing and phones home for help.

              Apparently you can also use the socket to turn stuff off at the wall & save energy! Well, you can use an app to contact a server that'll contact the socket and maybe isolate that outlet. Hitting a simple switch is sooo last century.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Reputation system

                Well you sound like a climate change denialist, picking on inevitable flaws, and then making sweeping interpretations that *everything* is thus wrong/bad. It seems regardless of IPCC and other international groups, I'm supposed to believe you are the right person to listen to, that climate change isn't real.

                The way you put it, renewables drop to zero output and energy storage does not exist..

                Your comment on the socket, even if that device is flawed, are not the righty identified flaws, so reveals your lack of understanding of grid supply. Also a significant contributor to increased prices in the UK are the very many energy companies going bust and the cost of continuity. It's the equivalent of a bailout when the banks failed, put in as standing charges, which is what has increased the most - the so called "cost to connect your supply"

                There is indeed the problem of greenwashing, and there is indeed a problem with sensible discussion *because* of social media. It doesn't make the fringe views you like right. But that is why free speech isn't banned despite the issues. Happily discuss the BBC or telegraph's inaccuracies and get consensus amonst academia of merit.

                You are saying stuff without references, and your language also belies a thinker with bias, with some hyperbole. It almost seems you require "neutrality" to take every view from your response, which is not the neutrality threshold an information outlet ought to follow.

                A biased person evaluating information neutrality is self-defeating. The subtleties of imperfect, inaccurate, incorrect and wrong start blurring for them, when they don't hear what they believe. You're also a bit guilty of being an activist here for your opinion too, so by your own description, I shouldn't believe you for the reason you don't believe other views.

                Can you give you opinion, on the peercentage of articles, say over a decade, from each "MSM" sources that you disagree with as "biased"? As imperfect as they all are, which one did best?

                1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                  Re: Reputation system

                  Your language reflects your own bias, or conditioning.

                  Having been involved in the climate 'debate' for a couple of decades, the style becomes familiar. Once, we were climate 'sceptics'. That changed, because scientists are supposed to be sceptics. So 'denier' entered the lexicon, with obvious connotations with holocaust denial. Again that's an MSM thing with lobbying groups like the Bbc & Grauniad pushing climate denial hard.

                  It's a huge part of the problem because AFAIK, none of their climate 'experts' have any training or background in science or engineering, so they're easily confused, and unlikey to be sceptical. Especially when there are consequences for defying the 'consensus'.

                  The IPCC is also part of that problem. It's basically a literature review where a small minority cherry pick papers to include, or exclude. That can obviously be a problem, if those involved are biased. There's also simple human nature given some well-known climate 'scientists' have made a very lucrative career from climate activism.

                  One recent curiosity is the way the narrative has shifted from preventing 2C warming to 1.5C. IPCC reports have said >2C warming is the potential danger point, otherwise warming and higher CO2 levels are beneficial. Yet reality deniers can't accept that, and we must waste trillions to lower CO2. That would reduce crop yields, and increase food poverty & starvation.

                  But the reduction to 1.5C, and claims of time pressure are used to force governments to act faster, which means lobbyists can extract more cash for their clients. Reality is we were extremely unlikely to hit 2C anyway. The important science is all about ECS, or Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity. That's basically the relationship between CO2 concentration and temperature. If ECS is low, temperature increase will be low.

                  Good news is CO2 is a well characterised molecule. ECS and CO2 dogma is based on it's absorption and emission spectra. That's basically 4 bands, 3 overlapping with H2O leaving a narrow 'atmospheric window' where water isn't dominant. That's why the IPCC gave CO2 a GWP (Global Warming Potential) of 1. Hydrogen by contrast is 11.

                  Because CO2 is a weak GHG, reality deniers had to find a way to upsell it. So the IPCC came up with the idea of forcings and feedbacks. So various ways by which small increases in CO2 might lead to large increases in temperature. These theories were dutifully tested in climate models, and results published by the MSM. Funniest was by Mark Lynas, who came up with an 11C prediction, and has been trying to deny that ever since.

                  But being predictions, climate models can be compared with reality. So reanalysis projects compare predictions against observations. Generally they show models running too hot, so either the model is wrong, or reality is. So the assumptions wrt CO2 ECS, forcings and feedbacks were wrong in those models. The lack of correlation between models and reality strongly suggest ECS is low, and CO2 isn't actually a problem.

                  On energy storage, that's just throwing good money after bad. We know wind is expensive, intermittent and unreliable. We know this because we replaced wind with steam in the past. Reality deniers ignore history and think building larger windmills will make the wind blow on demand. So rather than ditching windmills (again), useful idiots come up with batteries. So make 'renewable' energy even more expensive by adding massive battery arrays.

                  That's Green logic for you. Rather than solving the root cause, just add a lot more cost, complexity and risk. Like what happens when those battery farms catch fire, and belch out clouds of hydrogen flouride and hydrogen cyanide.

                  Regarding the socket, I'm afraid it's you that's demonstrating your ignorance. My grid supply gives me 240V, which will be a blended supply depending on the generating mix feeding the grid at the time. So it'll be some combination of nuclear, gas, coal, forest or even a bit of wind, if the weather's right. There is no way the socket can determine origin. So all it does is use it's modem to query a server, and change the LED based on whatever rule the vendor's decided.

                  I do however think origin determination would be a good thing. Then people who want 'Green' tariffs can pay an appropriate premium, and be the first disconnected when wind speeds drop.

                  As for references, you might find this site interesting


                  Or you may choose to simply deny anything that challenges your own biases and beliefs. Lysenko after all was a scientist, and one should always have absolute faith in 'the science'.

                  1. FeepingCreature Bronze badge

                    Re: Reputation system

                    I disagree with you on the science, but I want to say that regardless, I appreciate your position. Nullius in verba! Without a caustic review environment, science quickly degrades in quality.

                  2. LybsterRoy Bronze badge

                    Re: Reputation system

                    --I do however think origin determination would be a good thing. Then people who want 'Green' tariffs can pay an appropriate premium, and be the first disconnected when wind speeds drop.--

                    Wonderful, absolutely brilliant idea.

                  3. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Reputation system


                    This is a reference site???????

                    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                      Re: Reputation system

                      Yup. It has just as much credibility as the Bbc or Grauniad.

                      It also covers news the Bbc chooses not to. But picking on a recent article, like the Bbc's fake news regarding Antarctic warming, what do you disagree with? Evidence rather suggests the Bbc is wong.

                2. LybsterRoy Bronze badge

                  Re: Reputation system

                  -- Your comment on the socket, even if that device is flawed, are not the righty identified flaws, --

                  so what are the "righty identified flaws"? Once electricity is in the grid how does anything decide it was greenly produced or not?


                  I am biased. The climate is changing and some of that may be caused by mankind. How much I don't know because as St Greta said "the science is settled" and discussion is not allowed.

                  1. Grunchy Bronze badge

                    Re: Reputation system

                    “The science is settled,” even though real world response doesn’t closely follow any of the simulations.

                    Not suspicious in the slightest!

                    Of course, Cracked had a bit of a war with the dental community about the overall benefit of flossing, seems nobody ever confirmed it’s actually efficacious. (Nevertheless, I still use flossing to break up that particular plaque, even if the benefit hasn’t been completely vetted. I’m not *that* stupid!)

              2. LybsterRoy Bronze badge

                Re: Reputation system

                I upvoted you. Its interesting to see that the first response is from a loyal follower of AGCC and starts with an insult. Please remember for the future that no discussion is allowed - you must believe!

            2. LybsterRoy Bronze badge

              Re: Reputation system

              -- by definition a fringe view isn't going to become mainstream, because they are typically untrue --

              1. I find it interesting that you have decided that fringe views are untrue

              2. Fringe views are often espoused by the MSM until they become mainstream - WOKE anyone?

              1. Swarthy Silver badge

                Re: Reputation system

                Please proofread your article, perhaps resorting to a dictionary, and then re-post what you mean.

                1) They said "fringe views are typically untrue" you responded as if they had said "all fringe views are untrue"

                2) "espoused" means to have adopted or supported so your second line reads: "mainstream media supports fringe views until they become mainstream"

                Strawmen and nonsense may well help in politics, but do not do well to advance your argument in these halls.

          2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

            Re: Reputation system

            Why would the Bbc publish any inconvenient truths, when it's been campaigning on behalf of the 'renewables' industry for so long?

            But in some ways, the current energy and cost of living crisis has drawn more attention to the issue. A very obvious way to reduce energy bills would be to scrap all the green subsidies loaded on to them. Wind & solar are mature technology, costs have allegedly been falling, so subsidies can be scrapped, or greatly reduced.

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge

      I generally agree. If free speech means you have a right to be abusive or break laws (including libel/slander and various forms of stalking and doxxing), obviously THOSE things cannot be allowed and would mean that 'free speech' would not be good for the platform.

      However, I think the current definition of 'free speech' allows for the banning and/or censorship of those things that are abusive, illegal, harassing, inciting, or similar. It may also require SOME bowdlerizing. But pretty much anything else should not only be ALLOWED, it should be ENCOURAGED.

      And as for ads vs crypto, the crypto would not work for me as I would not leave a browser on with scripts running. Sanbox only, off when hot in use. Javascript is just too inefficient for crypto mining anyway. probably using 10 times the value of any bitcoin mined in electricity alone (at least in MY area, some of THE most expensive electricity in the world for a major metro area).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        It should be encouraged widely in academia.

        A respected or recognised figure in the real world - like a parent or teacher hands down knowledge and corrects mistakes. A college professor or a paper review critiques a study, article or opinion. The online world lacks that correction.

        With an instant and easy gratification culture, too many know too little, and aren't bothered to take the time to correct that, as there is no feedback path.

        They just move to their online "echo chamber", killing any feedback.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        > off when hot in use.

        That typo's perfect for a discussion about mining crypto

  6. Martin an gof Silver badge

    60% chance of failure

    (to pluck an arbitary number out of thin air)

    Here's how I see it:

    • Musk does everything he has said, the platform becomes an unmanageble mess of extreme "free" speech which right-minded people leave in their droves and is banned outright by jurisdictions (Europe for e.g.) which have no qualms about regulating this sort of thing. As a result, it withers and dies - 30%
    • Musk tries to do everything he has said, but comes up against regulatory hurdle after regulatory hurdle, can't reduce costs by removing the oversight, can't monetise it reliably, loses interest and allows it gradually to wither and die - 30%
    • Musk realises that if this isn't to be the biggest waste of money anyone has ever measured (not that he couldn't afford it), he needs to work within proper frameworks, tidies things up a bit (never been a Twitter user, but I like the cooling-down period idea as much as I don't like retrospective editing (actually, the sort allowed by El Reg seems to work)) but otherwise the platform carries on pretty much as it is now, Musk loses the urge to micromange everything but becomes a kind of benign dictator, until the day he decides to cash in - 40%

    Let's face it, far from its early days, Twitter is basically just a medium to allow corporations and celebrities to put short messages in your face. Twitter killed RSS? Perhaps if Twitter does die, some kind of modernised RSS will take its place (are there such things already out there?)


    1. Blank Reg Silver badge

      Re: 60% chance of failure

      There is another possible outcome. Tesla drops by another 87% to get down to a reasonable valuation. Then his collateral for the purchase isn't nearly enough to cover the loan and the banks take over Twitter.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 60% chance of failure

        Don't forget that Musk had to borrow heavily get his hands on enough money for the deal. And that loan is secured against Tesla stock. That means if his foray into owning Twitter fails the banks might also own a significant chunk of Tesla.

        There are also some people who suspect this all to be a major pump and dump operation. The theory goes something like this:

        Step 1 - Musk knows that Tesla stock is never going to valued as high as they are now (either insider knowledge or just common sense due to increased competition in its niche).

        Step 2 - Musk sells off a very large amount of Tesla stock but nobody finds that suspicious because "he needs the money to buy Twitter".

        Step 3 - Musk behaves enough like a raving lunatic that the Twitter shareholders get cold feet and pull out so he can step away from the Twitter deal without having to pay a penalty as technically he wasn't the one who broke it.

        Step 4 - The SEC might have some issues with his handling but the fines are dwarfed by the money he made selling Tesla stock at it's peak.

  7. IGotOut Silver badge


    ... If he goes ahead with all those plans, twitter will be the next MySpace.

    Good luck brat boy.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Well...

      It's already been dubbed MuskSpace

  8. msobkow Silver badge

    I find it interesting that while he talks about "freedom", most of what Musk is talking about doing sounds like imposing a gatekeeper on Twitter, such that content is hidden unless you pay.

    Typical tech-bro. Lofty platitudes over a simmering cesspool of greed. :(

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Elon Musk's epitaph

      will more than likely say..

      "Made plenty of promises but ran out of time to deliver them."

      He's clearly getting bored with Tesla and Space X so needs a new toy to fsck around with.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "such that content is hidden unless you pay."

      That mechanism is already in place. Go to a Twitter feed while not signed in (or, like me, you don't have an account anyway) and if you try to scroll down more than a few messages, you get an uncloseable pop-up refusing you further access unless you sign in.

      1. Aussie Doc Bronze badge
        Big Brother


        ...if you use something like uBlock Origin, you can block that popup/specific element and continue to see as much as you want of twitter.

        I'm in no way suggesting that is necessarily a good thing just that it's what I do if I get the 'urge' to want to see more <shudder>.

        He can't see you --->

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Actually...

          It's much easier, just use Nitter to access Twitter and all limits are off.

          There are even ways to follow Twitter accounts from your Mastodon account so you never have to go to Twitter to know what some people are tweeting.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Actually...

            Primarily, I only look at Twitter when there's a link to photo/video from a news site that is relevant, so it's not that big a deal. I'll look into the previous posters method of blocking the element since I have uBlock Origin already running. I'll add that I normally have Twitter domains blocked NoScript and have to unblock it temporarily on those rare occasions otherwise I only get a blank page with a Twitter logo)

          2. Dan 55 Silver badge

            Re: Actually...

            Also see Fritter on Android, it doesn't require an account.

    3. bombastic bob Silver badge

      * greed is the excessive and generally unhealthy desire to acquire wealth (leading to illegal acts and exploitation, by my observation)

      * profit is what keeps YOU employed unless you work for a government.

      * It is NOT greed to want profit.

      * It is NOT greed to offer goods and services for a value that is their true worth.

      * Without potential profit there is (generally) no investment

      * Without earning money, there is NO BUSINESS

      * Money is a neutral measurement of the true value of goods and services. Unlike barter, it standardizes their value (to some extent). Otherwise you might be trading chickens for car parts.

      * if you adopt a "share and share alike" posture, you end up with only a FEW doing MOST of the work, and the rest lazily demanding the things that nobody is making.

      So Musk must either makeTwitter worth more so that people DO pay for it, or find a way to monetize it that actually adds value, or increase interest so that current methods work better and generate more revenue.

      Capitalism 101

      (what DO they teach in these schools, anyway?)

      1. msobkow Silver badge

        Oh do stop trying to make excuse for Musk and co's greed. You know very well we aren't talking about a "healthy" economy with these vultures in the air.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        * profit is what keeps YOU employed unless you work for a government.

        * It is NOT greed to want profit.

        Let's define profit as involving money taken out of the company. Then there is wider definition than your for "greed".

        If you keep the extra money to cover variability in cash flow, it is perfectly possible to be employed without *taking* profit. There's are tons of ot-for-profit organisations.

        I suppose another way to look at it is to put a cap on the product margin, as beyond a certain %age it can only be greed.

        >> * Without potential profit there is (generally) no investment

        Agreed but again you are not quantifying it. The mere existence of profit is not bad, this is agreed. But if you only invest to take a 5000%+ margin (martin schekel), or use leveraged buyouts to liquidate assets and destroy the enterprise itself - is that all "investment"?

        The next big weakness in your description is about money. "Profit"/gain does not have to be in currency, because the gain is not always in goods or services. You imply that if money cannot recognise something it is not worth having, but this presumes the monetary system can attribute value to *anything*, and thus acquire *anything*, which is not proven in any economic science.

        For eg your pure capitalistic logic says never help a stranger, no profit, but there is non-monetary "profit" there, such as feeling good or in mental health. Money can only buy the best available good in lieu - for eg a very imperfect Zoloft tablet.

        The point is there are alternate models to profit/gain non-monetarily in a sustainable way, just the way monetary profit/gain sustains capitalistics models, where money can measure it.

        Anyway Elon has publicly stated it is not an investment for currency profit, it is an inverstment in social good profit to help free speech, so a not-for-currency-profit model is perfectly usable - just enough money made to pay the bills and for a rainy day, and focus on doing good.

        (BTW the pledge to capitalism so brings out the fact you are American schooled, and taught to not think outside - corporate monetary profit as the way and the only way for everything society should ever need.)

        1. Paul Herber Silver badge

          'martin schekel'

          ITYM Martin Shkreli

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "a vocal supporter of what is his interpretation of free speech"

    As opposed to the current strategy of slime, yeah lets just go with that!

    Free speech really shouldn't be that contentious, especially after simply living in and having to experience our strange and sad new world.

    I'm gonna guess that his likely-dubious version of 'free speech' might at least be more appreciated (and more approximating a freer speech) than the current shutdown of discussion (and critical thinking) whilst so pursuing and prioritising that devolved and creepy fake-smiling, faux-politeness instead, like those champions of a differing opinion in mainland China!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Newsmax, NYPost, Breitbart, Truth social, Sinclair Media, and innumerable posters and channels on Twitter, Facebook, and You Tube - aren't these examples of free expression of right wing politics in media?

      Your phrasing seem to imply that because (now lame duck) Twitter content admins sometimes exercise subjective (a.k.a. biased) choice, free speech existed nowhere in the "Free World".

      Personally I wish for the complete repeal of section 230, yesterday. That is an exactly unbiased wish.

      1. kat_bg

        Gab, Parler, etc Just to add to the list of open right wing biased mediums...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I agree completely on Section 230 - it is an American law, built on the weaknesses of the lobbying tactics in American goverment, that is having global negative effects.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My soft spot for Musk is not because he is a vain, selfish, pain in the ass - it's quite simply the clearly positive results he obtained promoting US manufacturing & physical technology, in an era of declining focus on US manufacturing & physical technology (and a corresponding rise in abstract technology, e..g, advertising, social media, crypto, NFTs).

    Being a "vain, selfish, pain in the ass" is actually well within the normal range of human behavior. But he turned it into a net positive, providing US jobs in manufacturing.

    This move with Twitter though seems like a move away from the physical and into the abstract. Of course there is plenty of money in the abstract - but it's ultimately a bubble that will collapse under the realpolitiks of the rising manufacturing giant China.

    However, if Musk makes the entire Twitter software base open source, I'll give him a thumbs up.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      >>In an era of declining focus on US manufacturing & physical technology

      He has always worked in industries with American government subsidies. Whilst he had a role to play, it is the big subsidies that reversed this tide in these industries.

      Of course, in Musk form, now that *his* companies have benefitted, he'd like the subsidies to stop.Who needs competitors?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: subsidies

        Yes, Musk's business empire is calculated to have taken in about $5 billion in subsidies. All while advocating that subsidies are bad. On the internet that was invented and developed with tax payer's money.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: subsidies

          In "Atlas Shrugged" the industrialists are against subsidies and Randroids as well. Of course, railways in the US received subsidies to build their lines...

  11. DS999 Silver badge

    Sounds like he's going to run it into the ground

    Cryptocurrency payments system? The average person doesn't know much about cryptocurrencies other than that they don't want anything to do with them, so that's going to cost them a lot of people right there.

    Charge websites to embed tweets? How exactly is he planning on doing that? I'm sure tweet links can be blocked and some API set up to allow sites that agree to pay to be able to link them. How many will be willing, versus simply quoting or paraphrasing what was said? Or just ignoring Twitter content as irrelevant going forward? If we see embedded tweets drop by 99% because most sites don't want the hassle of paying for it, that just makes Twitter even more irrelevant for those who don't participate on the site themselves.

    If he blocks tweets without payment, will that leave dangling links on untold millions of web sites that have embedded tweets over the past decade? Or is this only be in place for new tweets?

    It will be fun to watch the place burn.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Sounds like he's going to run it into the ground

      Of course for the Silly Valley lot accepting normal card payments aren't good enough, it has to be crypto currencies, so if it actually takes off it's going to be fun to watch the planet burn.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    He can ask for all the feature shakeups he likes. Unless he's going to inject a significant sum of liquid cash into the business there'll very shortly be far fewer staff left to implement them. Silicon Valley compensation packages rely heavily on stock-based compensation. Existing stock grants will presumably convert to cash awards on the same vesting schedule, which is fine for the short term. However locks employees out of any future value growth - the price is fixed.

    More importantrly, tenured employees will be used to getting "refreshers" of these grants every year or so to maintain a target compensation level as their original new hire grants "age out" due to fully vesting over 3/4 years. As a newly private company any replacement refreshers will be illiquid stock or options or SARs in the newCo. Their value will be dependent on some future liquidity event - essentially a gamble on your part that Elon will one day go public or buy back your newCo equity awards at a premium.

    The only way to mitigate this effect would be to review comp packages to replace the "lost" RSU value with something else, like a direct cash uplift. That is not going to happen. All the while you're dancing to the whims of an overgrown manchild who wants you to put your efforts into supporting his far-right wing mates so he can complete his Randian Wank Fantasy.

    Put in other words, now is a *really* great time to start the process of poaching those Twitter staff you've been trying to lure for years.

    (This is also why the current leadership can say "there will be no layoffs" with a straight face - Elon ain't going to have anyone left to lay off)

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    He’s as mad as a cut snake on a hot tin roof

    See title

  14. CheesyTheClown

    I don’t get it

    So… Twitter

    From my use of it,

    if you write threads, people hate you because that’s not Twitter

    If you write tweets

    - people hate you because even a haiku author can’t express themselves in the character limit without being (intentionally) misunderstood by most people

    - people hate you because you sound like a raving lunatic for writing short meaningless messages

    - people hate you for writing crappy jokes

    - people hate you for writing anything

    I have never experienced a platform so well suited for spreading hate and discontent. It’s a toxic platform. I am sure there is someone out there who isn’t a shit tweeter, and I think Twitter sometimes is a good platform for making announcements… but, it’s just not a good place.

    Then there is the issue of Musk buying the platform… has Musk ever bought a company and made it successful? I was always under the impression that he’s a maker and builder… not a buyer.

  15. Snowy Silver badge

    Going to remove the bots

    I think every on-line systems has bots and they all say they are going to remove them and as far as I know none have yet cracked the bot problem

    1. DS999 Silver badge

      Re: Going to remove the bots

      Musk VASTLY overestimates the capability of "AI", that's why he has been saying self driving Teslas are coming "next year" since 2016. He's making the same mistake as far as bots - if he succeeds in removing a lot of bots he'll no doubt rope in a good number of real accounts which will be terrible publicity which he'll ignore claiming it is haters and pedos saying that stuff or something.

      I'll bet if you asked him he thinks could crack the CAPTCHA problem too. All problems are easy to someone who hasn't looked deeply into the issue.

  16. babaganoush

    Twat buys twatter. A marriage made in heaven.

  17. secret goldfish

    My post here was just ironically deleted by the moderator with no context a story about Twitter and free speech.......congrats moderator!

  18. PapaPepe

    Build new or buy an existing

    My experience with cost-estimating software/hardware/operations/marketing of IT ventures is several orders of magnitude below Twitter. But with some creative extrapolation, I estimate that re-creating and kick-starting the "new, improved Twitter", could not be more that one tenth of Musk's bid.

    Is it really possible that the herd of its users is worth $200.- a head?

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