Elon Musk’s Twitter take-over has been one of the most odd and also talked about acquisitions in business history. On Friday, in the early hours of the morning, he tweeted a strange update about the status of the takeover. In that tweet, he stated that it was on hold. (1) This is why.
Elon Musk’s Twitter Take-Over On Hold
Elon Musk’s $44 billion Twitter buy-out has been one of the most talked-about corporate acquisitions of our time. While already a bit strange for its own part, the somewhat eccentric billionaire has just made us all go “wait, what…?” again. In the early hours of Friday, May 13 he tweeted the following tweet:
“Twitter deal temporarily on hold pending details supporting calculation that spam/fake accounts do indeed represent less than 5% of users” (2)
Twitter deal temporarily on hold pending details supporting calculation that spam/fake accounts do indeed represent less than 5% of usershttps://t.co/Y2t0QMuuyn— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 13, 2022
Two hours later he tweeted again, reassuring his followers that he was “still committed” to the purchase. He has not provided any more information since then.
Naturally, people were a bit confused. First, he says that his deal is on hold until he knows how many spam accounts actually make up Twitter’s current user base. This tweet, naturally, makes it seem like he is beginning to second-guess his decision to purchase the social media giant. Then he tweets later that, not to worry, he is still planning on following through with the acquisition. This has left people with a lot of questions.
Is Musk trying to lessen the price somewhat? Or maybe is he just looking for a bit of attention, as he hasn’t been in the headlines for, I don’t know, a week? Regardless of his reasons, Twitter’s stock went a bit haywire with each tweet in one direction or the other.
Read: Elon Musk wants to turn Twitter HQ into a homeless shelter
We’re Questioning, Well, Everything
Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover has been controversial, to say the least. His pending purchase has brought up many discussions online about free speech online and what that means. For some, free speech is up to a point as long as it does not include hate speech. For others, they believe that those in control of deciding what is considered hate speech have too much of a bias from one side to the other. Musk has said that he will loosen the platform’s moderation policies, which has some users quite worried. (3)
People are also questioning what the fallout or consequences might be of having one person in charge of Twitter. In particular, the world’s richest person in charge of one of the most influential social media platforms. For example, he has already announced that he would lift Trump’s Twitter ban, which is another highly controversial move.
On top of all of this, Musk seems to be improvising each step of the takeover. This is not normally how corporate acquisitions are handled. Usually, there are several items scrutinized and negotiated before one moves forward with an acquisition. He hasn’t really done that and even said in April that Twitter’s financial details didn’t concern him. Perhaps this is why he has now decided to pump the breaks a little on the purchase?
Why The Early Morning Tweet
One of Musk’s promises of his acquisition was to completely rid the platform of all fake and spam accounts. Twitter’s May 2nd regulatory filing included a statement that less than five percent of Twitter users are bots, spam, or fake accounts. Apparently, Musk wants to verify this before proceeding with the acquisition. To be clear, at least as he says, he’s still going to buy it. Perhaps he’s just deciding now that he wants to know better what he’s getting himself into.
It has never been difficult to create a Twitter account, making it easy for bots and spam accounts to exist. Even Twitter has said that it is hard for them to judge exactly how many are spam accounts versus actual people.