Elon Musk owns Twitter. Now what? (2023)

After more than six months of one of the most chaotic, high-profile business negotiations in recent memory, it’s finally real: Elon Musk, the richest person in the world, is in charge of Twitter.

Musk has reportedly fired CEO Parag Agrawal and two other top executives, CFO Ned Segal and head of legal policy, trust, and safety Vijaya Gadde, according to reports from CNBC the Washington Post, and the New York Times. The Washington Post and Wall Street Journal have reported that the deal closed Thursday night, although there is no official confirmation from Twitter or Musk at time of publication.

The reported acquisition means Musk, troll commander in chief, will avoid a lengthy legal battle that would force him to testify in court and reveal more potentially embarrassing private texts with his friends about the deal as part of the legal discovery process.

And Twitter won’t have to wait in limbo any longer as an orphaned tech company pleading for someone to take ownership. It also won’t have to deal with Musk’s public shitposting directed at the company’s leadership. (Musk tweeting a poop emoji at Agrawal may go down as one of the most juvenile executive insults of all time.) In the days leading up to the deal closing, Musk changed his tone to be a more friendly troll — on Wednesday, he visited Twitter HQ and made the rounds with employees, including a stunt in which he tweeted a video of himself carrying a sink into the office, captioned “Entering Twitter HQ — let that sink in!” and changed his Twitter bio to read “Chief Twit.”

Do you currently or formerly work at Twitter and want to talk about the current situation at the company? You can contact Shirin Ghaffary confidentially at shirin.ghaffary@protonmail.com. Signal number available upon request. We can protect your anonymity.

But if you think the Musk-Twitter saga is over, you’re sorely mistaken. The real drama is yet to come.

Until relatively recently, Musk’s primary business interests were in building electric cars, rockets, and underground tunnels. Now, he will have to figure out a new, very different business challenge: how to effectively run a social media platform that’s used by nearly 400 million people — including highly influential world leaders, journalists, and other public figures — and deal with the political speech moderation issues that come with that. Musk also needs to figure out a better business model for the company. Twitter has never made nearly as much money as its social media competitors like Facebook and YouTube, and along with other major tech companies, it has also seen a major decline in its stock value in the past year. According to a recent report in Reuters, the service’s most active and lucrative users have been leaving in droves since the pandemic.

So far, Musk has thrown out a lot of ideas, often in the form of tweets, about how he plans to turn Twitter around. Here are some of the most significant ones.

Make Twitter a “free speech” platform. Whatever that means.

Musk’s most consistent messaging about why he wants to buy Twitter is that he wants it to be an open digital town square of ideas, without intervention. He has said that he will allow anyone to say anything they want on the platform, as long as it’s legal.

“I think it’s essential to have free speech and to be able to communicate freely,” said Musk at a Twitter employee meeting in June that Vox obtained a recording of.

But it’s not clear exactly how Musk plans to execute on his free speech promise, or what he even means by it.

(Video) Elon Musk now owns Twitter

The recent proliferation of “free speech”-themed platforms like Parler, Truth Social, and Gettr have shown that if you let anyone say whatever they want on a social media app, there’s a good chance that app could become a hate-filled, toxic place — which is why even these relatively more lax platforms have some basic content moderation policies.

There’s a lot of perfectly legal stuff you can say that is unpleasant to look at: racial slurs, graphic violent content, bullying, spam (more on that later). That type of content is generally bad for business because most users — and advertisers — don’t want to be around it.

Musk knows this. Which is why he has said, paradoxically, that he will use algorithms to promote and downrank content, arguing for “freedom of speech” but not “freedom of reach.”

“I think people should be allowed to say pretty outrageous things that are within the bounds of the law, but then that doesn’t get amplified, it doesn’t get, you know, a ton of reach,” said Musk at the June Twitter staff meeting.

But Musk didn’t explain how he will decide what kind of content will get reach and what won’t, and how it will be any different from what Twitter currently does. Twitter has long struggled with harmful content (as has every other major social media platform) — including an advertiser boycott in 2020 — and in recent years has expanded its policies against hate speech, harassment, and violent content.

On Thursday, Musk seemed to try to address concerns about his hands-off approach to content moderation by tweeting a public memo to advertisers. He wrote that Twitter “cannot became a free-for-all hellscape, where anything can be said with no consequences!” and added that he wants Twitter to be a place “where you can choose your desired experience according to your preferences, just as you can choose, for example, to see movies or play video games ranging from all ages to mature.”

It’s unclear, though, how this choose-your-own-adventure strategy works with Musk’s overarching vision for a “common digital town square,” where people are debating a wide range of beliefs all in the same place. The balance between allowing free speech and making a social media platform a welcoming place is a tough one, and Musk has a lot of details here he will need to figure out.

Bring back Trump

Musk has said he would reinstate former President Donald Trump’s Twitter account, which was banned for his tweets about the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot.

“I think that was a mistake because it alienated a large part of the country and did not ultimately result in Donald Trump not having a voice,” Musk told the Financial Times in May. “Banning Trump from Twitter didn’t end Trump’s voice. It will amplify it among the right, and that is why it’s morally wrong and flat-out stupid.”

Musk’s comments about bringing back Trump, paired with his free speech mantra, has made him popular with conservatives who have long felt censored by Twitter and other social media companies, despite the fact that there hasn’t been tangible evidence of systematic anti-conservative bias and conservative influencers continue to have massive followings on platforms like Twitter.

While many conservatives would cheer Trump’s return to Twitter, it would simultaneously prompt major resistance from people, many of them liberal, who argue that his tweets pose a threat to a peaceful democracy. We’ll see how Elon is prepared to handle that blowback if he does reinstate the former president.

Get rid of bots

Musk has promised to fix Twitter’s “bots” issue — meaning the prevalence of accounts that post spam or inauthentic content like crypto get-rich-quick-schemes and phishing scams.

Bots are a major known issue on Twitter, although the company has maintained that they represent less than 5 percent of all accounts. Musk has said he thinks that number is much higher, around 20 percent or more, and used that as his legal basis for initially backing out of the deal.

(Video) Elon Musk Owns Twitter (For Real This Time). Now What?

Outside research has shown that while the prevalence of bots on Twitter might actually be under 5 percent, the reach of these bots in conversations overall can be outsized, as high as 20 percent.

Unlike reinstating Trump, getting rid of bots is probably also one of Elon’s least controversial plans because it’s hard to find people who love bots (or at least the malicious/spammy ones).

“I mean, frankly a top priority I would have is eliminating the spam and scam bots and the bot armies that are on Twitter,” Musk said at a TED conference in April. “I think these influence … they make the product much worse. If I had a dogecoin for every crypto scam I saw, I would have a hundred billion dogecoin.”

Ironically, even though Musk said one of the reasons he was buying Twitter was to get rid of bots, he made the existence of bots the basis for his case to try to get out of the Twitter deal, arguing that the company didn’t disclose the full extent of the issue.

Like it or not, bots are now squarely Elon’s problem to solve.

Make Twitter a “superapp” called X

Musk had said that he wants to fulfill Twitter’s potential by making it much more than a social media app: turning it into a “superapp.” The original superapp is China’s WeChat, which people use to do everything from paying their bills to ordering takeout to messaging their friends.

“You basically live on WeChat in China because it’s so useful and so helpful to your daily life. And I think if we could achieve that, or even close to that with Twitter, it would be an immense success,” said Musk speaking at in June that Recode obtained a recording of.

This is by far one of Musk’s most ambitious plans and the closest thing he has to a real business strategy. Currently, 90 percent of Twitter’s revenue is made through advertising. Musk said he would want to make Twitter less advertising-dependent and make more money by subscriptions (which Twitter already does), and potentially, making money through these superapp transactions.

Musk will have competition: Snap’s Evan Spiegel and Uber have also been pursuing the superapp idea.

It could also be a lot harder to build a true superapp in the US than in China, where there isn’t as much antitrust scrutiny stopping major communication platforms from establishing cross-industry monopolies.

If Musk is to achieve any of these goals, he will need smart people at Twitter to help him. With an already demoralized staff and his reported plan to cut 75 percent of the employee base, that’s going to be difficult.

In discussions with several current and former Twitter employees, staff described a climate of chaos and uncertainty. Some employees circulated a petition on Tuesday protesting Musk’s plans to cut 75 percent of Twitter’s workforce, and “to not be treated as mere pawns in a game played by billionaires.”

One current employee, who asked not to be named for fear of repercussions for speaking with the press, said that everyone they know at the company is either “leaving or planning to leave.”

(Video) What happened to Twitter after the Elon Musk takeover?

Many sources Recode spoke to found it implausible that Musk could effectively keep Twitter running with the kinds of drastic staff reductions he’s reportedly planned.

“It’s not only operations that will be hit. It takes many people and moving parts to meet basic regulatory and legal compliance in various parts of the world. How does [Musk] plan to continue to do that?” said Sarah T. Roberts, a former researcher at Twitter who left the company recently and is now a professor of information studies at UCLA.

One Twitter engineer, Manu Cornet, has been posting cartoons on his blog that reflect the current mood at Twitter.

In one sketch, Cornet drew passengers sitting on a Twitter-branded plane, crouched and bracing for impact.

If there’s one thing we know by now in following the Elon-Twitter deal, it’s that what Musk says he’ll do can be very different from what he actually ends up doing. But in the next few months, Twitter employees and Twitter users should be prepared for turbulent times.

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Elon Musk owns Twitter. Now what? (1)

(Video) What Elon Musk's Ownership of Twitter Means for You
(Video) Elon Musk's ownership of Twitter begins


What will happen to my Twitter stock? ›

On Nov. 8, 2022, Twitter got a record of all remaining shareholders who will be paid out of their shares at a rate of $54.20 per share. This was a rate agreed upon by a 98% margin at a shareholder meeting in September.

Does Elon Musk own all of Twitter now? ›

The acquisition of Twitter by Elon Musk began on April 14, 2022, and concluded on October 27, 2022. Business magnate Elon Musk began buying shares of American social media company Twitter, Inc. in January 2022, eventually becoming the company's largest shareholder in April with a 9.1 percent ownership stake.

What happened when Elon Musk bought Twitter? ›

Musk bought the social media company for about $44 billion, matching the original price he offered earlier this spring. The Twitter deal has had a tumultuous year — Musk tried to back out of the agreement this summer, and Twitter sued him to force him to honor the deal.

Is Elon Musk still rich after buying Twitter? ›

Elon Musk's Net Worth Drops $9 Billion After Twitter Deal | Time.

Will Twitter shareholders get paid out? ›

If you're a Twitter shareholder, you should expect to receive $54.20 per share in the next few weeks, and then a capital gains tax bill next April (assuming that you hold shares in a brokerage account).

What does Twitter going private mean for shareholders? ›

Taking a company private, as Musk intends to do, reverses the IPO. If it goes through, the Tesla billionaire will pay Twitter shareholders $54.20 a share, which is a 64% premium over the price Twitter stock was trading at a few weeks before Musk's offer was disclosed on April 14, 2022.

Who gets the 44 billion for Twitter? ›

Elon Musk has completed his $44 billion acquisition of Twitter, the company confirmed in a securities filing Friday, putting the world's richest man in charge of one of the world's most influential social media platforms.

Who actually owns Twitter? ›

Subsequently, Musk made an unsolicited offer to buy Twitter, Inc. for $43 billion on April 14, 2022. This process went through a number of business and legal confrontations, but ultimately, Musk completed the acquisition on October 27, 2022, for $44 billion. Musk immediately fired the top three Twitter executives.

Who has left Twitter so far? ›

Every Celebrity Who Has Left the Bird App
  • Jim Carrey shares one last project. ...
  • Whoopi Goldberg's “done.” ...
  • Shonda Rhimes says, “Bye.” ...
  • Gigi Hadid calls the app a “cesspool.” ...
  • Moby says “it's time to leave.” ...
  • Welp, Sara Bareilles is out. ...
  • Toni Braxton says Twitter isn't the “safe space” it once was.
3 days ago

How much money did Elon Musk lose from buying Twitter? ›

In taking the company private in his $44 billion purchase of Twitter, Musk cashed in some of his Tesla stock and also saddled the social platform with $13 billion in debt, which is a massive obligation for a company the size of Twitter.

Why did they sell Twitter to Elon Musk? ›

Elon Musk claims that he is buying Twitter to "help humanity" as the billionaire set out his aims for taking over the social media platform. In a tweet, Mr Musk said he didn't buy the firm "to make more money. I did it to try to help humanity, whom I love".

Will Twitter be delisted? ›

What happens to Twitter's stock? Twitter will be delisted from the New York Stock Exchange and its shares will no longer trade on public markets as of Nov. 8, according to a securities filing.

How much is Twitter worth right now? ›

Market cap: $41.09 Billion

As of December 2022 Twitter has a market cap of $41.09 Billion. This makes Twitter the world's 416th most valuable company by market cap according to our data.

How money does Elon Musk have now? ›

Do I have to sell my shares if a company goes private? ›

In order to go private, a public company must buy back its outstanding shares from shareholders in what is known as a tender offer.

What happens to Twitter stock after merger? ›

What happens to Twitter's stock? Twitter will be delisted from the New York Stock Exchange and its shares will no longer trade on public markets as of Nov. 8, according to a securities filing.

What happens if you own stock in a company that goes private? ›

What Happens to Shares When a Company Goes Private? When a publicly traded company becomes a privately held company, the public company's shares are purchased at a premium by the investors buying the company. The company is delisted from the stock exchange where its shares formerly traded.

What happens when a stock is delisted? ›

To be delisted means to be removed from an exchange, meaning the stock is no longer traded on that specific stock exchange. A company can elect to delist its stock, pursuing a strategic goal, but more commonly companies are forced off a stock exchange because the stock no longer satisfies certain minimum requirements.

What happens to stock if company is bought? ›

When A Company Is Bought, What Happens to the Stock? The stock of the company that has been bought tends to rise since the acquiring company has likely paid a premium on its shares as a way to entice stockholders. However, there are some instances when the newly acquired company sees its shares fall on the merger news.

What happens to my Twitter stock on Robinhood? ›

In case you're wondering why, it's all because Twitter is now a totally private company. This means that Twitter stocks or shares will no longer be available on on the stock market/brokerages/exchanges like Robinhood. He took the company private. He owns it all and so it doesn't trade any more.

Does Elon Musk own 50% of Twitter? ›

Tesla CEO Elon Musk owns a 9% stake in Twitter and is now the social media platform's largest shareholder.

Who owns the most shares in Twitter? ›

Billionaire Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal said Friday that he and his Kingdom Holding Company rolled over a combined $1.89 billion in existing Twitter shares, making them the company's largest shareholder after Musk.

Who is backing Elon Musk Twitter deal? ›

The Gulf State's sovereign wealth fund put $375 million towards Elon Musk's Twitter deal, giving Qatar a stake in the social media network just weeks before it hosts one of the world's largest sporting events.

What companies does Elon Musk own? ›

What do Elon Musk's 4 companies actually do? The world's richest man just bought Twitter for US$44 billion – finally – but he also owns Tesla, SpaceX, Neuralink and The Boring Company.

How much did Elon Musk make from Twitter? ›

Musk acquired Twitter for $44 billion, an amount that he admitted is “obviously overpaying” for the company. He also lined up a substantial amount of debt financing to pay for the deal.

Is Twitter popularity declining? ›

First of all, Twitter's growth has clearly slowed–and so has that of Facebook. The percentage of Americans who use Twitter rose from 15% to 16% last year, while Facebook's growth appears to have stalled for the time being, remaining at 2013's 58% figure.

What is the number 1 tweet of all time? ›

As of November 2022, the most-liked tweet has over 7 million likes and was tweeted from the account of American actor Chadwick Boseman, announcing his death from cancer.

Is Twitter still popular 2022? ›

Twitter.com is visited 7.1 billion times per month.

That's based on data from Statista—there were 7.1 billion visits in May 2022, which was up from 6.8 billion visits in December 2021.

How much does Twitter lose per day? ›

Elon Musk says Twitter is losing $4 million each day, and that he's willing to try anything he thinks might help the social media platform turn a profit.

Does Twitter make a profit? ›

As of 2022, Twitter is not profitable. In fact, in 2021, on $5 billion in revenues, Twitter generated over $220 million in net losses. In Q2 2022, on $1.17 billion in revenues, Twitter posted a net loss of $270 million.

How much did Tesla lose when Elon bought Twitter? ›

Elon Musk sold $3.95 billion worth of Tesla stock since completing his purchase of Twitter late last month.

How much does Elon Musk make a day? ›

1. Elon Musk is currently the richest man in the world, with a net worth of $253 billion. In 2022, Forbes reported that Musk made $253 billion, which works out to be about $650 million per day.

How does Twitter make its money? ›

Twitter divides its revenue into two categories: the sale of advertising services, which constitutes the vast majority of the company's revenue, and data licensing and other services. 3 Twitter's major competitors include other social media companies like Facebook parent Meta Platforms Inc.

Is Twitter dying or growing? ›

Our overall audience has continued to grow, reaching 238 million mDAU in Q2 2022," the spokesperson said, using an acronym for monetizable daily active users.

Is Twitter a Buy Sell or Hold? ›

TWTR Signals & Forecast

The Twitter stock holds buy signals from both short and long-term moving averages giving a positive forecast for the stock. Also, there is a general buy signal from the relation between the two signals where the short-term average is above the long-term average.

Who is the richest person who ever existed? ›

Who was the richest person ever? The richest person ever is thought to have been an emperor with an accumulation of wealth often described as “unimaginable” or “incalculable.” The title goes to 14th-century African emperor Mansa Musa, and his wealth has been estimated to be the modern day equivalent of $400 billion.

How much is Donald Trump worth? ›

Who is the richest country in the world? ›

The United States is the richest country in the world with the highest GDP, as of 2021. China is the second richest country in the world with a $17.734 trillion GDP.

How much is Twitter in debt? ›

In 2021, Twitter took in $4.51 billion from advertisers, and $572 million from licensing data and other services. The company had more than $2 billion in cash and less than $600 million in net debt before the takeover talks—very little debt for a company in the S&P 500 index.

Who is the richest Twitter? ›

After much ado, Elon Musk is the official owner of Twitter. The Tesla chief, who first disclosed his 9.2 per cent Twitter shareholding in April, later going on to make a hostile bid for the social network, closed his $44-billion buyout just a day before a Delaware Chancery Court-ordered deadline of October 29.

Does Twitter make or lose money? ›

Twitter's most recent earnings release states that the company had $1.2 billion in revenue for Q2 2022. At $8/month and therefore $24/quarter, the company needs almost 50 million subscribers to fully cover that revenue.

Why is elon Musk so rich? ›

Elon Musk rocketed to billionaire status, after entering the elite club in 2012 just nine years later he tops the list. His wealth is based mainly on his shareholdings in the electric car firm Tesla, of which he is the CEO.

What makes Elon Musk rich? ›

Musk's remarkable jump in wealth is linked to his ownership stake in electric car maker Tesla, and to a lesser extent his holdings in ventures including Space X and Boring Company.

Where does most of Elon Musk's money come from? ›

Elon Musk has made most of his money by investing in ideas and companies he is passionate about. After eBay acquired PayPal, he used his significant stake in the company to fund the creation of SpaceX. After initial teething problems, SpaceX grew to become a company with 100 launches on its manifest worth $12 billion.

Will Twitter shareholders Approve Deal? ›

Twitter shareholders have approved the $44 billion sale to Elon Musk.

Will Twitter shareholders vote to sell? ›

Sept 12 (Reuters) - A majority of Twitter Inc's shareholders (TWTR. N) have voted in favor of the social media company's $44 billion sale to Elon Musk, people familiar with the tally said on Monday.

Does Twitter ever pay dividends? ›

Additionally, with the looming privatization of Twitter by Elon Musk, shareholders should not expect a dividend. Though a dividend may be initiated if the company returns to public markets some years after. As a result, we do not expect Twitter to pay a dividend for the next several years.


1. Elon Musk Officially in Charge of Twitter, What Now?
(NBC Bay Area)
2. Elon Musk Shakes Up Twitter During First Hours As Owner
3. Elon Musk Takes Over Twitter; CEO And CFO Depart: CNBC
4. Tucker Carlson: Elon Musk officially owns Twitter
(Fox News)
5. Elon Musk officially owns Twitter. Here's what could happen next | JUST THE FAQS
6. Elon Musk basically owns Twitter now. What happens next? | Engadget Podcast
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