Twitter set for controversial future as it accepts Elon Musk’s $44 billion takeover bid – Susannah Streeter


Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst, Hargreaves Lansdown:

‘Although Elon Musk likes his fingers to be pretty much constantly tapping out tweets, he clearly wants Twitter to adopt a hands off approach when it comes to moderation under his ownership. But just how he’ll avoid a collision course with regulators isn’t clear given that he’ll own the platform he uses to makes sweeping criticisms of the way they operate.

“The challenge will also be maintaining and building revenue given that the controversial opinions he hopes to give more of a free rein to are often unpalatable to advertisers. He clearly sees introducing more subscription models as the way forward, but the risk is today’s regular users may just end up paying to receive more abuse, which doesn’t bode well for long term retention of the moderate Twitterati.

“However, Musk’s star quality and eagerness to stir up more controversial views on the platform may prove to be irresistible entertainment. If this deal goes through Musk’s Twitter is set to take on the heady scent of a sweaty town hall gathering, with combatants keyboard-ready to fire vociferous missives at their opponents.

“Injecting growth into this new social media boxing ring, and proving it is worth more than its $44 billion price tag, is going to be an extremely hard slog in the months and years ahead. But it seems promoting free speech rather than focusing on wealth creation is his primary motivation here. 

“Given that Musk has time and time again deflected blows of criticism aimed at his perceived over ambition, he is likely to emerge bruised but in fighting form whatever obstacles are thrown at him.”

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