Elon Musk has completed his takeover of Twitter and now controls one of the most influential social media platforms.
After a long saga around the acquisition, the biggest questions now are how Mr. Musk will handle Twitter and how might that change?
Here’s a look at some of the biggest and most controversial changes that could come.
– Freedom of expression and the “common digital public place”
The Tesla and SpaceX boss said he strongly believes in absolute freedom of speech, as anything not illegal should be allowed to stay online, and confirmed he would allow accounts bans, like that of former US President Donald Trump, return to help fulfill Twitter’s mission to be an unfiltered “digital commonplace”.
Mr Musk said he believed it was “important for the future of civilisation” to have a space where “a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy way”.
This position would be likely to face significant problems once the Online Safety Bill comes into force in the UK.
While the bill pledged to protect free speech through protections around content of democratic importance and news publishers, it will require platforms not only to remove illegal content, but also all topics that have been designated as “legal but harmful”, which is likely to be content related to abuse or harassment, among other things.
With hefty fines and even the prospect of being banned from the UK as potential penalties, Mr Musk will likely have to soften his stance on absolute free speech if he wants Twitter to stay on the good side of regulators.
Advertisers are also unlikely to be happy with the possibility of their ads appearing alongside increasingly controversial content.
Mr. Musk appears to have realized this himself, saying in the days leading up to the takeover that “Twitter obviously cannot become a free hell for all, where anything can be said without consequences.”
“In addition to respecting the laws of the country, our platform should be warm and welcoming to all, where you can choose the experience you want based on your preferences,” he said.
– The whole app
A key moment in this takeover saga came when Mr. Musk confirmed he would pursue the deal and said the purchase of the platform was “an accelerator to create X, the app everything”. .
The billionaire has spoken widely in the past about his support for the idea of an “everything app” – a single place where users can access most, if not all, of their favorite online services and utilities.
In China, a version of the whole app idea already exists in WeChat, which started life as a messaging platform similar to WhatsApp but has since become a mini-internet within a single app – allowing users to do everything from sharing social media posts with friends, getting news, making mobile payments, booking restaurants and ordering taxis.
Nothing similar exists in the West.
Some pundits have questioned Mr. Musk’s ability or even desire to actually create such a service, but no one can match the resources he has – he’s the richest person in the world – and he has money. experience in digital payments via PayPal and transport via Tesla, which could help bring different services together in one place.
– Inside the company
Mr. Musk’s public fights with Twitter and criticism of the company in the months leading up to the takeover were not well received by some Twitter employees, with reports that many were even considering leaving once the takeover closed.
Industry analyst Mike Proulx said earlier this month that “earning and keeping the trust” of Twitter employees should be Mr. Musk’s “number one mission”.
“Twitter remains an important part of our culture, regardless of the ongoing drama surrounding this one-time, one-time, one-time deal,” he said.
“Twitter’s future is bleak without an engaged employee base and there’s a lot of repair work to be done there.”
Some work seems to have already started in this area – when visiting Twitter headquarters before the takeover was completed, Mr Musk reportedly told staff that it was not true that he planned to remove up to 75 % of Twitter staff after company acquisition.
It was previously reported that Mr Musk had told investors he planned to cut the company’s 7,500 employees by around three-quarters.
Some activists have also raised security concerns, who argued that it could degrade and make it an easy target for hackers as attention shifts to other aspects of the takeover or a large number of employees leave the company.