Musk takes over as Twitter CEO

Ramona Shekhar, Editor-in-Chief

On Oct. 28 of last year, Elon Musk finalized his $44 billion deal to serve as the new CEO of Twitter after initiating his purchase on April 14 and experiencing months worth of lawsuits and conflict. Following his acquisition, Musk promptly laid off the social media platform’s top executives such as CEO Parag Agrawal and policy director Vijaya Gadde, according to ABC News. Forbes reports that a whopping 7,500 employees were fired within the first month of his takeover.

With Musk in charge, Twitter has initiated its newest modifications such as the latest subscription, Twitter Blue, in which users can pay $8 a month to acquire the once-coveted blue check mark for their account. Prior to this installment, notable figures like politicians and celebrities were given this verification to confirm their authenticity. Musk claims this decision to purchase a verification was intended to end the “lords and peasants” system, claiming it gives power to the people. However, this action resulted in a flood of impostor accounts impersonating influential personalities, prompting Musk to put forward a brief intermission of the subscription.

After a few weeks, he relaunched this subscription by adding a steeper price for iPhone users to mitigate this issue and implementing labels such as “official account” and “visually distinguishable” to prevent impostor accounts from spreading misinformation. Additionally, Musk announced that companies will be given a gold check, government a gray check, and individuals the standard blue. The prices of these checks also vary among different entities as Musk has confirmed that he will charge companies $1,000 to maintain their gold check status.

In his quest to further revitalize Twitter, Musk reinstated banned accounts such as former President Donald Trump. According to the Washington Post, he asserts that these measures dismantle censorship and protect users’ freedom of speech, a right he has been an outspoken advocate for.

However, there are instances in which violations resulted in suspensions of accounts.

As of December 2022, rapper Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, was suspended from the platform  for violating the social media platform’s rules on “incitement to violence” after an offensive image.

Additionally, accounts posing as Musk himself were quickly suspended from the app.

He has also temporarily suspended journalists from The Washington Post, The New York Times, and CNN after accusing them of tracking his private jet and endangering his family. As a result, the European Union condemned Musk and warned him of sanctions to Twitter.

In response to these tumultuous events, he published a poll asking users if he should step down as the CEO of the company with approximately 57.7 percent voting “yes” according to the BBC. The next day Musk pledged that he will seek departure once he has selected a suitable predecessor.

This decision may be the best and the most appropriate option for him, considering the substantial amount of financial losses he has amassed. Since his acquisition of Twitter, Time Magazine reported that Musk’s net worth dropped by $9 billion. Moreover, Musk sold as much as $1 billion dollars from his Tesla shares to support Twitter’s funds, ensuing a $700 billion loss in Tesla’s stocks according to NPR. These actions have led him to accumulate an estimated $180–200 billion loss from his net worth, breaking the Guinness World Record for the most money lost by a person.

The ramifications of Elon Musk acquiring Twitter will have a long lasting effect on the platform’s reputation in the following years. Hopefully, by observing Musk’s careless decisions, future businesses will think twice before considering an investment offer from wealthy corporate leaders.