Closing his mega-deal on Twitter, Elon Musk says his goal is to enable a “healthy” debate of ideas and counter the tendency of social media to fragment into partisan “echo chambers.”
In a message intended to reassure nervous Twitter advertisers Thursday (local time), on the eve of a court-imposed deadline to finalize the deal, Musk said he will work with marketers to “build something extraordinary together.”
The billionaire entrepreneur l “why it is important for the future of civilization to have a common digital town square where a wide range of beliefs can be healthily debated,” tweeted Musk.
The planned takeover has dismayed activists who fear a wave of harassment and misinformation under the unpredictable Mr Musk, known himself for trolling other Twitter users.
But Mr. Musk said he realizes that Twitter “cannot become a free hell for all where anything can be said without consequences.”
The Tesla boss’ takeover of the platform appeared to enter its final stage after a Delaware judge suspended litigation on Oct.6 over Twitter’s lawsuit against Musk after he had previously walked away from the deal.
Mr. Musk has reportedly lined up the funding, and while there is always the possibility of a last-minute turnaround, multiple signs point to the likely closure of the deal.
The New York Stock Exchange posted a pending order to suspend trading on Twitter ahead of Friday’s session.
“We expect Musk and Twitter to officially finalize the deal by Friday morning with Cinderella finally getting the right glass slipper,” Wedbush analyst Dan Ives said.
Mr. Moss but he soon backed out, saying he would cancel the contract in July because he was misled by Twitter about the number of fake “bot” accounts, charges the company rejected.
Twitter in turn tried to show that Mr. Musk, who also heads the aerospace company SpaceX, was making excuses to leave simply because he had changed his mind.
A trial on Twitter’s lawsuit was scheduled for mid-October, but the Delaware court allowed the parties until 5pm on October 28, 2022 to close the transaction.
New questions about the deal and Twitter’s future surfaced last week following reports that Mr. Musk had planned deep staff cuts.
But on Wednesday, Mr. Musk changed his Twitter profile to “Chief Twit” and posted a video of himself walking into the company’s California headquarters carrying a sink.
The South African entrepreneur has a polarizing figure in American business.
Supporters praise his disruptive spirit and achievements at Tesla, while detractors criticize him as a megalomaniac with a dangerous tendency to delve into geopolitical topics in which he lacks experience, such as the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
In his latest statement Thursday, Musk said much public speculation about his intentions in the deal had been “wrong” as he insisted his goals were noble.
In pursuing Twitter, “I didn’t do it because it would have been easy. I didn’t do it to make more money,” he said.
“I did it with humility, recognizing that failure to pursue this goal, despite our best efforts, is a very real possibility.”
Musk urged marketers to come up with ads that are “as relevant as possible” to consumers, appealing to the industry at a time when tech giants Google and Facebook have seen a steep drop in advertising revenue.
“Badly relevant ads are spam, but highly relevant ads are actually content!” He said.
Insider Intelligence analyst Jasmine Eenberg said Twitter’s advertising business suffered due to uncertainty over the deal with Musk, as well as macroeconomic concerns affecting the broader online advertising industry.
“Even a slight easing of content moderation on the platform is sure to scare advertisers, many of whom already find Twitter’s brand security tools lacking compared to other social platforms,” Ms. Enberg said.
Having more relevant ads is “a noble goal, but difficult to achieve,” he said.
“Musk will acquire Twitter at a time when data is already scarce and users are very skeptical of moving more personal information to social platforms,” he said.