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Elon Musk wants to make Twitter fly again | Economy

Musk looks at his mobile phone at a SpaceX news conference at Cape Canaveral in January 2020.
Musk looks at his mobile phone at a SpaceX news conference at Cape Canaveral in January 2020.STEVE NESIUS (Reuters)

Twitter posted on April 1 on the social network that it was working on a button that will allow you to edit your messages after posting them. This has been one of the most repeated requests that Twitter users have made to the technology company. The most veteran users soon understood that the message was an April’s Fool joke, the foolish things that happen on the first day of April in the United States. Four days later, the company officially announced that it was preparing the long-awaited tool. What changed in such a short time? The landing of Elon Musk, the richest man in the world with a fortune of 213,000 million dollars, in the company and on its board of directors, where he will remain at least until 2024.

The episode of the edit button is a sample of the speed that Musk can print in a company that has missed growth opportunities and has been overtaken by competitors such as Snap and Meta (Facebook). The purchase of the owner of Tesla of 9.2% of Twitter (73.5 million shares for 2,400 million dollars) has given access to the council to an active user followed by 80 million people and who has launched more than 17,000 messages on Twitter. 13 years. One of the most recent, by the way, was a poll about the edit button (73% of 4.4 million people voted yes; the company denies the poll was a starting point). Like the rest of the humans who use the platform, Musk has been torn between love and hate. In July 2016 he declared his affection for her for seven months after describing it as a hellish site. In July 2020, he said that the network “sucks”.

Musk’s arrival on Twitter is the most interesting thing that has happened to the company in a long time. What will the billionaire do with her now? It is the big question that everyone tries to answer. Some have opted for economic replica. “Twitter is one of the most important products in history (it is a source of real-time information and a global communication platform), but it is still a mediocre investment,” Scott Galloway, a marketing academic, has argued in his popular blog. from NYU Business School. Despite its ubiquity in modern day life, the company has neither increased its value significantly (30 billion) nor managed to expand its user base.

Musk’s arrival gave a boost to the value of Twitter stocks, which soared 30% to over $40, a barrier he had struggled to break for months. Until last December, the company’s shares had only increased their value by 80% since 2013, while those of Meta, for example, had increased by 788%. This led several activist investors, especially the investment fund Elliott Management, to call for the dismissal of Jack Dorsey, one of the company’s founders and CEO until the end of 2021, as incompetent. Musk, who already has four times as many shares as Dorsey considers him a “good-hearted” guy.

Intrigues in the council seem unlikely at the moment. Parag Agrawal, the CEO who succeeded Dorsey, has welcomed Musk, whom he has called “a passionate believer and intense critic of the service.” “It’s what we need,” added the engineer. In his notice to the regulatory authorities, with whom Musk has long had a pulse, Twitter indicates that the businessman cannot do dumping with his shares and imposes a ceiling of 14.9% of shares during the two years in which he will be on the board and 90 days after leaving it. The company thus protects itself from being taken control of by the owner of SpaceX.

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Other analysts consider that the battle that Musk will want to fight is in the political field and freedom of expression. “Since Twitter serves as a public square de facto, their lack of the principles of freedom of expression undermine democracy. What should we do? ”, Asked the businessman days before his investment in the company was made public. This concern has given hope to the right-wing sectors and the radicals, who have been expelled from Twitter and other major digital platforms after the assault on Capitol Hill. These users have moved into radical fringe arenas like Parler, Rumble and Truth Social, Donald Trump’s app that has 1.5 million users on the waiting list (the former president has only sent a single message to his 750,000 followers since its launch). on February 21).

“If the crazy leftists who are trying to censor freedom of expression want to leave Twitter with the arrival of Elon Musk, let them do so, it will be a better place,” controversial senator Rand Paul, who campaigns to jail Anthony Fauci, the man in charge of the US response to covid. Mike Davis, a Republican who founded the Internet Accountability Project in Washington, sees Musk’s arrival as “a step in the right direction.” “It is unfortunate that a heroic investor like Elon Musk is needed to fight for this right,” he notes. He, like many of the conservatives who sympathize with Trump, calls for reducing the power of Big Tech. Radical congresswoman Lauren Boebert has already called on the Tesla owner to lift the former president’s punishment and let him return to Twitter. This action would have direct consequences in the 2024 presidential elections. Adrián Zamora, a spokesman for the technology company, pointed out that at the moment “there are no plans to reverse any policy decisions” and that these are not adopted by investors.

In the next 24 months it will be seen if Musk manages to push Twitter towards web3, the promised land of technological visionaries, an evolution of the Internet thanks to the blockchain that would give new freedom to users. The businessman has also asked his followers if Twitter should make his algorithms public. The answer to what Musk wants from Twitter could be in his tweets. “My tweets are literally what I’m thinking at the moment, not some carefully composed corporate trash,” he wrote in 2018. A few days ago, he raised expectations for the next board meeting — an appointment as yet undated — with a meme of his time at the Joe Rogan podcast, where he smoked a joint (the moment depreciated Tesla shares by 9%). Musk has among his most famous anecdotes crashing a million-dollar McLaren F1 that he was not insured for, which has become a metaphor for his impulsiveness in Silicon Valley.

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