Elon Musk and The Bird App

Elon Musk and The Bird App

Jayden Johnson, Staff Writer

Seemingly out of nowhere, the modern Man Who Built America Elon Musk is set to purchase Twitter for a jaw-dropping $44 billion (Brown, Forbes). The rumors broke on April 14th that Musk would offer the Twitter board just over $54 per share, but how exactly he planned on paying for the company is where this takes a turn. More than half of the deal would be paid in cash at a rounded $25 billion coming out of Musk’s pocket, and another $21 billion in equity. Once the deal is completed, the right-leaning Musk plans to change Twitter for the better… or the worst depending on your political views.

Where this gets interesting is Musk’s political stance compared to that of the former owner. It goes without saying that if you have seen any of Musk’s tweets or maulings of left-winged (and some conservatives as well) influencers or politicians, his views align on the more conservative side. With that being said, Musk was one of the first business owners to send employees back to work following the “conclusion” of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Conversely, the current CEO of Twitter, Parag Agrawal announced that Twitter employees had the new option to permanently work from home (Kelly, Forbes). As the purchase draws out, it becomes increasingly likely that Agrawal will see his way out just over one year after he took over for founder Jack Dorsey.

Yet another place where political views may affect Twitter’s product is censorship. Following the social media usage of former president Donald Trump, Musk became one of the most notable proponents of doing away with censorship. In a summary of his own words, freedom of speech on social media should match that of the law regardless of a company’s public or private status. Under the prior ownership, it goes without saying that Twitter would openly ban its users, oftentimes without reason. 

The full takeover is yet to occur, but Elon himself has already begun to hint at some possible changes to the app. Changes include, but are certainly not limited to a reduction in ads, a reduction in bot accounts, an improved algorithm, and most popular, an edit button. All social media platforms have some sort of ad system built-in. From 30-second commercial-style ads on youtube to Instagram’s poster-style ads, we’ve all seen them in one place or another. A reduction of ads more or less removes the business aspect from Twitter and includes more of the entertainment part. 

More importantly, the long-requested edit button has been officially announced. There might not be anything worse than the infamous typo. A trending tweet that never happens because you can’t spell. Without the edit button, users used to have to delete a tweet and repost it because of one error. The easiest way to lose an argument on social media? Spell something wrong. It’s almost like accidentally stuttering or drawing a blank during your presentation. All jokes aside, the edit button is a long-needed addition to the app. It’s much more convenient and time-saving than deleting and reposting. The only question is when the button will make its first appearance. 

With such a large change of scenery at the Twitter HQ, student opinion is something that is going to vary, especially when politics are considered. When asked the question “politics aside, how do you feel about the suggested changes to the Twitter app?” a fellow student here at the high school mentioned his excitement. He explained “I’m excited about the edit button. I use sports twitter pretty often, so it’s easy to fact-check myself and change some tweets around.” Piggybacking off the previous question, the same student was then asked if the edit button should have a time limit making it so that you can not edit tweets from “x” amount of time ago. In short, he hadn’t really thought of it, but does support the idea, explaining that, “it would make it so that people can’t scroll through their old tweets and pick and choose what they want to change.”

Again removing politics from the decision, Elon Musk taking ownership of Twitter may not be as bad as many people see it to be. Between Tesla and SpaceX, Musk knows technology, and he knows how to work a product to the liking of its users, and from what the leaks seem to suggest, there is nothing “left-winged” or “right-winged” about the proposed changes aside from his speech regarding the 1st Amendment. Nonetheless, the popular opinion seems to be excitement surrounding the purchase, but only time will tell as to how users, past, present, and future, handle the changes.