Poop emojis, threats of goblin-hood, and the world’s strangest business deal8 min readReading Time: 6 minutes
When you’re the wealthiest person on this massive planet, you’re bound to make the news at some point. Yup, you guessed it. Elon Musk is up for discussion– yet again.
Unjumble this image for a quick background on Elon Musk:
So, what has he done this time? Sent a sports car into space? Built a reusable rocket? Made a car that can (almost) drive itself? Well, nope, this time, his feat is different. The world’s most talked about inventor’s new plaything is the beloved? (well known) social media site: Twitter. But even if you’re as powerful and wealthy as Elon Musk, sometimes you have to think before you act, or you may end up a few billion dollars short.
This is the story of how Elon Musk went after the world’s adults favourite place to let loose: Twitter. It all started with the news that shook the planet itself- Twitter had banned President(at the time) Donald Trump from tweeting. The President of the United States of America had officially lost his right to free tweets. The world was instantly divided.
While several people rejoiced that a man known for angry rants, inciting violence, and spreading misinformation had lost his rusty microphone to the world. Some were concerned about just how powerful large technology companies had become. Others felt the freedom of speech was being taken away, and the fans and followers of Mr Trump were infuriated. How can the President of one of the world’s most powerful countries be silenced with such ease? Was it simply because the big guns (the decision makers) at Twitter disagreed with President Trump’s views? How big were these big guns anyway? Could they really make such a drastic decision on a global platform? And would Donald Trump still be President if he wasn’t removed from Twitter?
Elon Musk tweeted his displeasure with Twitter’s move too. But then, in hardly no time, the world was packed with enough chaos for this particular incident to blow over. Donald Trump had started his own social media site for himself and his followers. In the meanwhile, Elon Musk was back to tweeting about joke money, his larger-than-life ideas, and everything in between. Then, all of a sudden, just as 2022 was beginning, and we were all caught up in looming fears of the world’s peace being disrupted (thank you, Vladimir Putin), Elon Musk quietly started collecting bits and pieces of Twitter.
Twitter has millions of bits or shares owned by hundreds of thousands of people. The people and companies with the most shares appoint a board of 11 members to make all of Twitter’s big decisions, including choosing its CEO. So, if you want to change how things work at Twitter… Well, you have to buy enough shares to do it.
To join or not to join
Elon Musk bought 3 billion dollars worth of shares and owned a whopping 9.2% of the company. In comparison, the company’s founder, Jack Dorsey, only owns two per cent of Twitter’s shares. So did Elon Musk just join Twitter’s board?
Well, no, joining Twitter’s board would still mean limits. Elon Musk would have to make decisions with ten other people who may disagree with him. Moreover, he saw Twitter as a place for absolute freedom that shouldn’t be governed by the laws of business. He wanted to “unlock Twitter’s potential,” which would require short-term compromises for his long-term goal. This wouldn’t work, as board members have a legal obligation to make decisions that are best for the hundreds of thousands of people who own shares of the company. That’s right! he would have to make money for them and constantly prove it. How Burdensome!
So, Elon Musk went down an Elon Musk route. He said no to joining the board and started trolling Twitter and all of its decisions on Twitter. After all, what was Twitter going to do? Ban him? He posted about how Twitter was destroying itself by playing god and deciding who could say what. He poked fun at Twitter’s employees for working from home and even claimed that their office should be made into a homeless shelter for the people of San Francisco. Most damagingly, Elon tweeted about how Twitter wasn’t exactly thriving in its money-making business.
When you think about Twitter and just how big it is, you may think–well–there’s a thriving business! But you’ll be surprised to learn that Twitter isn’t doing too well. Unlike Facebook and Instagram, which have over a billion users, Twitter only has about 200 million (well, that’s still a ginormous amount, but we’re talking in comparisons here). And for the 8 of the past 10 years, Twitter hasn’t even turned a profit.
Take my money, I have more
So, what did Elon Musk do next? You would think he was done messing around and would move on to other things. But Elon Musk is a businessman, and he had even bigger plans. Soon enough, he made an offer that was almost impossible to reject. He offered to buy all of Twitter for 44 billion dollars! 44 billion!!! Keep in mind. Elon Musk is worth 270 billion dollars, so what’s 44 billion here or there?
To sell or not to sell
It wasn’t a bad offer considering Twitter wasn’t doing great. And Musk was offering a far higher price than Twitter’s shares’ worth. Besides, Elon’s trolling had done Twitter no favours. But Twitter’s board was worried: What would Musk do to their company? Would he make Twitter an unsafe place? Would that make all of their advertisers leave?
Most of Twitter’s money comes from advertisers who pay the company to showcase their products to the millions who use Twitter.
Would people’s private data be safe in Elon Musk’s hands? After all, when Elon Musk declared that he wanted Twitter, he claimed that he wanted to go “goblin mode” and make some wild decisions. Moreover, Twitter was worth far more than Elon Musk’s offer just last year. Was this really a good deal? The board wasn’t so sure.
So they did some business world trickery and used something called a poison pill to fend him off. But Elon Musk is a master businessman. So, he managed to convince them that the wisest way to make money for the company’s shareholders was to sell to him. And soon enough, to people’s joy and despair, Twitter was to be sold!
But this is Elon Musk, people! He wasn’t done just yet. When Elon Musk bought Twitter, he had a few changes on his mind. His first plan was to make free speech completely unrestrained on Twitter(although some say it’s already too free). The second was to reduce his reliance on ads to make money and, instead, to have people pay for better and more personalised experiences on the platform. The third was to rid Twitter of the pesky bots that troll people, post fake content to scam people, and lure them into strange schemes.
Twitter bots are spam accounts that are either automated or run by people trying to pretend to behave like regular Twitter users. While some bots, such as covid-bots, health-bots, and earthquake-bots, are useful services that reveal themselves to be automated information streams, others are pesky scams that hide behind the guise of being honest Twitter users.
In order to combat the bots once he took over Twitter, Elon Musk asked Twitter for the number of bots the platform thinks they have etc. When Twitter shared all this data with him, Elon Musk was unhappy yet again. He felt the information wasn’t enough or true. Twitter claimed that it had found that 5% of its users were bots, but Elon Musk wasn’t convinced. It had to be more!
So, what he do? Well, he headed off to his favourite social media site, and went rogue mode yet again. He wanted to know even more about these bots so that he could make his own calculations.But the only way to do that would be for Twitter to share people’s private data with Musk, something they say that they legally cannot do. When Twitter’s CEO, Parag Agarwal tried to explain this Musk in a tweet, he got a short and smelly response: A poop emoji.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 11, 2022
And soon after, Elon Musk said he wanted Twitter no longer. But fot Twitter, it’s too late, Musk’s antics have made the company’s value drop, and the best thing for the company at this time is to sell it. So now, after doing everything to stop the sale, Twitter is taking Elon Musk to court to force him to buy the company. What happens next? Can Elon Musk escape and return to trolling Twitter and tweeting memes, or is he going to find himself 44 billion dollars short? Who knows?💩