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Uncertain era for Twitter following Musk deal

Some industry experts opine that Musk's goal for free speech on Twitter could mean rolling back some of the platform's work to curb hate speech, misinformation, harassment and other harmful content.

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Washington: Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s $44 billion deal with Twitter could mean rolling back of the micro-blogging site’s work on curbing hate speech, misinformation, harassment and other harmful content, according to industry experts.

On Monday, Twitter had agreed to a 44 billion dollar (£34.5bn) takeover offer from billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk.

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According to CNN, under the terms of the deal, shareholders will receive $54.20 in cash for each share of Twitter stock they own, matching Musk’s original offer and marking a 38 per cent premium over the stock price the day before Musk revealed his stake in the company.

The CEO of Tesla made the shock bid earlier this month, claiming that he was the right person to “unlock” the micro-blogging site’s “extraordinary potential”.

Speaking about the deal, Twitter’s Independent Board Chair Bret Taylor said, “The Twitter Board conducted a thoughtful and comprehensive process to assess Elon’s proposal with a deliberate focus on value, certainty and financing. The proposed transaction will deliver a substantial cash premium, and we believe it is the best path forward for Twitter’s stockholders.”

Following the signing of the deal, Musk said, “Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated.”

The deal also resulted in the Twitter stock rising up nearly 6 per cent. With 84.6 million followers, the Tesla chief had been a high-profile Twitter user and a controversial one as well as he used the platform over the years for everything from sharing memes and discussing his companies to insulting politicians, spreading misleading claims about Covid-19 and making offensive remarks about the transgender community, CNN reported.

Recently, he had stressed that he aims to bolster free speech on the platform and work to “unlock” Twitter’s “extraordinary potential.” However, some industry experts opine that Musk’s goal for free speech on Twitter could mean rolling back some of the platform’s work to curb hate speech, misinformation, harassment and other harmful content.

There have also been questions about whether he will restore former President Donald Trump’s account, which was removed last year for violating Twitter policies by inciting violence following the Capitol Riot.

“Do not allow Twitter to become a petri dish for hate speech, or falsehoods that subvert our democracy,” Derrick Johnson, president of the NAACP, said in a statement directed at Musk following the deal. 

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