Re: Musk v. Twitter

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I don’t want Elon Musk to acquire Twitter because I don’t like his idea of free speech. Twitter, which adopted a ‘poison pill strategy’, may just be bargaining on the other hand:

True to form, Twitter left its door open by emphasising that its poison pill will not prevent its board from “engaging with parties or accepting an acquisition proposal” at a higher price.

But on Thursday he indicated he was ready to wage a legal battle.

“If the current Twitter board takes actions contrary to shareholder interests, they would be breaching their fiduciary duty,” Musk tweeted. “The liability they would thereby assume would be titanic in scale.”

‘What is Twitter’s ‘poison pill’ and what is it supposed to do?’, Al Jazeera, April 16, 2022

Rosen calls out the weird thread by @Yishan that, to me, failed to acknowledge the responsibility of social media platforms in placing the lies increasingly typical of conservative politics on the same footing as pro-democracy writing, and undermining the value of public dialogue.

What might Twitter be like under Musk? His ‘Pravda’ idea comes to mind:

Elon Musk tweeted this week that he plans to setup an online platform called ‘Pravda’, where people can “rate the core truth of any article and track the credibility score over time of each journalist, editor and publication.” This isn’t a joke. Bloomberg reported on May 24, “The California secretary of state’s website shows a Pravda Corp. was registered in October in Delaware. The filing agent and the address listed – 216 Park Road, Burlingame, California – are identical to the name and location used for at least two other Musk entities: brain-computer interface startup Neuralink Corp. and tunnel-digging company Boring Co.”

Musk wants to call this platform ‘Pravda’. Even as an attempt at irony or black humour, the name cannot transcend the founding conceit of the initiative. The word is Russian for ‘truth’; more notably, Pravda was the name of the official mouthpiece of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. It served the Bolsheviks at the time of the 1917 revolution, and was published continuously until 1991. Until the late 1980s, it published propaganda that furthered the cause of ‘actually existing socialism’ – the official ideology of the erstwhile USSR. While this ‘official organ’ of the Communist Party underwent an ideological transition towards 1990 and the eventual dissolution of the Soviet Union, Pravda‘s editorial positions on either side of this historic line illustrate the vacancy of Musk’s idea as well as choice of name.

Musk is lazy because, instead of trying to build a credibility-rating platform, he could either engage with journalists – especially women, whose credibility is constantly dragged down by faceless trolls assailing them not for their views but for their gender – and the underlying idea of journalism (together with how its purpose continues to be misunderstood). He is lazy because he thinks that by getting the numbers on his side, he can show journalists up for the phonies he thinks they are. Musk is likely to have better success at shaping public opinion if he launched a news publication himself.

‘There Is Neither Truth nor News in Elon Musk’s ‘Pravda’ – Forget Usefulness’, The Wire, May 25, 2018

Also:

While Elon Musk is trying to buy Twitter Inc., he’s no longer the company’s largest shareholder.

Funds held by Vanguard Group recently upped their stake in the social-media platform, making the asset manager Twitter’s largest shareholder and bumping Mr. Musk out of the top spot.

Vanguard disclosed on April 8 that it now owns 82.4 million shares of Twitter, or 10.3% of the company, according to the most recent publicly available filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

‘Elon Musk Is No Longer Twitter’s Largest Shareholder’, Wall Street Journal, April 14, 2022

Ultimately, this is what we’re hanging on right now:

Still I imagine that Twitter’s bankers at Goldman Sachs will sit down with Musk’s bankers at Morgan Stanley and Goldman will say “so uh where’s the financing coming from” and Morgan Stanley will say “oh the financing is in this can” and hand Goldman a can and Goldman will open the can and a bunch of fake snakes will pop out. “AAAHHH,” Goldman will scream, and then they will chuckle and say “oh Elon, you got us again” and everyone will have a good laugh. Because, again, uniquely among public-company CEOs, Elon Musk has in the past pretended he was going to take a public company private with pretend financing! I am not saying that he’s joking now; I am just saying he’s the only person who has ever made this particular joke in the past.

‘Sure Elon Musk Might Buy Twitter’, Bloomberg, April 15, 2022

Then there’s this guy: