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Elon Musk has bought Twitter – but what is he going to do with it

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Elon Musk, Tesla and SpaceX boss and the world’s richest man, has successfully purchased Twitter for $61bn ($US44bn) and unveiled plans to make the platform even more attractive to users around the world.

After completing the deal, Elon Musk naturally took to Twitter to make his statement.

He said: “Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy and Twitter is the digital town square where metals vital to the future of humanity are debated.

“I also want to make Twitter better than ever by enhancing the product with new features, making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating the spambots, and authenticating all humans.

“Twitter has tremendous potential – I look forward to working with the company and the community of users to unlock it.”

Musk is an avid Twitter user and his tweets have been controversial and have resulted in sending the stock market into a panic and him being sued for defamation.

Musk’s purchase comes at a time when Twitter is trailing behind the more popular social media platforms like Instagram, TikTok and Facebook.

Musk’s plan to rewrite the algorithm and make it open source may cause issues and is being seen by many as a way to realise Musk’s goal of having more free speech and less moderation.

One would assume that after spending $61 billion, Musk is interested in increasing profits and growing the userbase.

At the end of 2021, Twitter had $5 billion in revenue and 217 million daily users globally.

Put that up against TikTok which ended 2021 with 1.2bn monthly active users with that figure expected to reach 1.5bn by the end of the year.

Instagram also boasts more than 500 million daily users on its platform.

So Twitter has its work cut out for it, and while Musk hasn’t laid out his exact plans for the platform, there are high expectations for the entrepreneur to bring the same Midas touch he has shown with these other companies Tesla and SpaceX.

Twitter, despite having hundreds of millions fewer users than other platforms, is still best known as the place to have your say and share an opinion.

It’s also the first place where most journalists look when a story breaks to find more information with the people involved in those stories taking to the platform to share their opinion and their side of the story.

Musk says this acquisition is all about free speech but other platforms have faced issues for not shutting down hate speech and fake news so it will be interesting to see how Twitter handles the situation, especially with an open-source algorithm.

Musk also mentioned spam bots which are used to automatically post tweets on various issues.

The other change Musk is on record as supporting is the addition of an edit button for tweets.

Most people are in favour of this new feature to correct errors and spelling mistakes, but others are concerned that it will allow users to change tweets if it draws adverse reactions.

Ironically, this feature could muddy the water if you’re trying to stamp out misinformation.

And in terms of making Twitter more profitable, Musk also has a plan.

Now the platform is making its primary revenue through advertising, but Musk has floated the idea of turning Twitter into a subscription service to make it less reliant on advertisers and turn it into a more open opinion site.

Musk being the sole owner of Twitter may also prove to be problematic and he may be coming into view of regulators worldwide if he uses the platform as his own personal megaphone.