Elon Musk's Twitter Takeover Explained


Elon musk’s twitter takeover has raised a lot of questions, and headlines everywhere are shouting different things. You’ll have to pay $20 a month for a blue tick, or is it $10? Will you even have to pay at all? And the job cuts, so many job cuts… but is it really that many? We’ve outlined a breakdown of what's really happening; no fake news and no bias.

Pay £8 a month and you can be equal to your favourite celebs

If you’ve been watching YouTube for a long time, you might remember your favourite youtubers pining after the day they receive the big blue tick on twitter. But this golden status symbol wasn’t always there. In 2009, after an influx of twitter celebrity impersonation accounts, complaints forced Twitter to create a verification system, and the blue tick was born. Blue ticks were handed out to a limited number of people who met the standards, like famous actors or politicians. But this system is about to be turned on its head with a reshuffling from Musk that aims to “authenticate all humans.” Musk wants to make this blue tick accessible to all, so for as little as $8 a month you could be twitter equal to Justin Bieber. But why does this matter? The blue tick was also used to filter disinformation and hate speech. Twitter would remove the verified blue tick from extremist influencers, regardless of their celebrity status. By removing the blue tick, Twitter was making a bold statement- that you couldn’t trust the information they were promoting. Musk’s planned change to this verification system potentially risks the resurfacing of extremist figures.


The job cut myth

The biggest news that’s hit the headlines around musk’s twitter takeover are the extreme job cuts.  A 25% cut in jobs is being reported: 2000 of Twitter’s 7000 employees are being laid off. But the news has been hesitant to include that these cuts were already planned, before Musk even decided to takeover. Twitter is a declining platform, and the board were already anticipating around a 25% cut in roles. And the good news is that he’s now asked some for some of those employees to come back. There were reports that he had initially planned to cut around 75% of twitter’s staff to pay down the debt burden that has grown since the beginning of his takeover. But later he denied this statement, saying that he would not cut such a large portion of staff. However, he has fired the board of directors and appointed himself the sole director, naming himself “chief twit”.


Free speech and twitter trolls

Within 24 hours of Elon Musk’s takeover, derogatory language increased by 500%, implying changes to the twitter content policy. But the content policy hasn’t changed. 300 accounts carried out 50,000 plus derogatory tweets to make users think there had been a policy change as a result of Musk’s acquisition. The 500% increase had nothing to do with the Elon musk and yet it had everything to do with him. Musk has coined himself a “free speech absolutist”, but free speech is a complex topic and difficult to navigate. Musk’s ideologies seeping into twitter could compromise the free speech he is so desperate for. In the past, free speech activists have spread disinformation, which we saw run rampant during the trump election. Musk’s ideologies indirectly encourage people to spread misinformation and leave twitter more vulnerable to inauthentic accounts, bots and echo chambers.


Player V Player

Twitter has been known for its fiery feuds and debates. When celebrities are asked how they deal with negativity online, they all reply with the same thing: “stay off twitter”. There was even a YouTube serious dedicated to celebrities reacting to mean tweets about them. Arguably this has been twitters biggest problem, but Musk’s proposed idea overcomes this issue. He wants to utilise the arguments and create a space specifically dedicated to online rows in a player V player format. For debates club everywhere this might be an interesting prospect, but the good news is that you don’t have to engage in this if you don’t want to, as Musk wants to create different versions of twitter that users can log on to.


Twitter’s engagement is in a decline and has been for a while, long before Elon Musk began his acquisition. Its reach once wide, is now limited in comparison to other platforms, so the impact of potentially dangerous free speech is minimal. Elon Musk might be able to revive this declining platform with his new proposed ideas, but equally his ability to transform twitter into a mainstream powerhouse is unlikely, and his previous disinterest into the app is a good indicator of a potential offload in the future.