Despite being online, PCC freshman Hayden Cole explains their lack of interest in Twitter and how their relationship to the platform is becoming strained due to one changed factor—its ownership.
“Personally I don’t use Twitter especially with everything going on,” Cole said. “It definitely doesn’t encourage me to use the platform. It just looks like a platform that doesn’t suit my interests.”
The “everything” Cole is referring to is the increasingly dark days of Twitter and its anticipated self-immolation by users and outsiders alike since the $44 billion acquisition of the platform by business magnate Elon Musk on Oct. 27.
While Musk was born into wealth, his public profile has risen due to being the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, which has served to make him the wealthiest person in history, achieving an estimated net worth of $185 billion as of this year.
The recent addition of Twitter to his list of CEO positions has PCC sophomore Isabella Simpson questioning his personal values.
“I’ve heard that he has kind of gone off the bandwagon due to having a lot of power,” Simpson says. “He’s not really able to control himself, especially his morality.”
It has been evident that this power Simpson speaks of is something that Musk has wanted for a long time.
Rumors of him wanting to purchase the service initially started with him replying, “How much is it?”, in response to the suggestion that he purchase the platform in an exchange on the site in Dec. 2017.
In 2022, this idea came into fruition as he started to rapidly buy Twitter stock on Jan. 31.
On Mar. 4, he first declared himself a “free speech absolutist” on Twitter, an idea that has become defined as the reasoning behind his takeover. As an ideology, it’s been supported by conservative users of the platform while alienating everyone else.
Doubling down on this, he hosted a Twitter poll questioning the platform’s policies with the prompt, “Free speech is essential to a functioning democracy. Do you believe Twitter rigorously adheres to this principle?” on Mar. 25.
On Apr. 4, he announced that he had become the company’s largest shareholder and had acquired 9.2% of the shares for $2.64 billion.
On Apr. 14, Musk made an offer to buy the company for $43 billion, a great overvaluation for the service, which he maintained was a part of his effort to make Twitter a platform for free speech.
Negotiations continued for the following 5 months as multiple government antitrust trials were held and lawsuits continued back and forth between Musk and other shareholders for his lack of commitment and its affect on the company’s stock, eventually ending in Musk backing out of the deal on Sep. 13.
On Oct. 3, Musk started negotiations again in order to avoid Twitter’s lawsuit for failing to follow through on the already contracted acquisition, with the final deal for the service made on Oct. 27.
Despite his reasoning behind the acquisition being free speech, his policies since becoming CEO have been criticized as being hypocritical, with the inclusion of features like becoming verified on the platform for $8 per month and the alleged suspension of users that criticize Musk being the most controversial changes.
As a result, some people, like PCC freshman Jessica Allen, are concerned about his effect on the platform’s code of conduct.
“Him taking over I don’t really have a strong opinion about,” Allen begins. “But the stuff I hear, like him banning people just for saying his name, is a little weird.”
Some people have more strongly held opinions, like that of Dr. Erika Endrijonas, superintendent-president of PCC, who has recently deleted her president’s account in protest of Musk’s new position as CEO of the platform.
“I don’t think that the politics of the person who now owns Twitter is keeping with Pasadena City College,” Endrijonas says. “I think those 2 things are incongruent. I don’t think that the mission of our college and the mission of the person who owns Twitter at this time work together.”
As a college, the effect of Musk’s reckless reign and its continued chaos is being felt offline and is garnering concern from the PCC community for the future of the platform.
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