Ride the Lightning

Cybersecurity and Future of Law Practice Blog
by Sharon D. Nelson Esq., President of Sensei Enterprises, Inc.

Elon Musk Buys Twitter: The Price Tag was Approximately $44 Billion

April 27, 2022

The Washington Post reported that Elon Musk, on April 25, acquired Twitter for $44 billion which gives the world’s richest person command of a very influential social media site that serves as a platform for political leaders, a sounding board for experts across industries and an information center for millions of everyday users.

Tesla’s CEO Musk has been busy evangelizing on the need for “free speech” and has criticized content moderation efforts that he sees as a move toward censorship. He also said he see Twitter as essential to the functioning of democracy.

If free speech triumphs over disinformation, his beliefs concern me. Twitter, as we all know, banned President Trump in response to tweets involving the January 6, 2021, assault on the Capitol. Would Trump now be allowed back?

His own words do not answer the question. He has said, “Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated. “I also want to make Twitter better than ever by enhancing the product with new features, making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating the spam bots, and authenticating all humans.”

Some of that is ok with me and some of it makes me worry that disinformation will proliferate as will hate speech.

Under the terms of the deal, Twitter will become a private company and shareholders will receive $54.20 per share, the company said in a news release. The deal is expected to close this year.

“He’s more powerful than countries now,” said Ross Gerber, a Tesla investor close to Musk who said he bought Twitter shares last week in hopes the deal went through. “He has the most important technology asset in America … probably one of the most strategic military assets in the world … and now he has one of the most important communications tools in the world.”

Mr. Gerber has certainly articulated reasons to be concerned.

Musk’s positions on free speech and how to police the site have put him at odds with current Twitter leadership. How will he get his changes through withing impacting Twitter’s current executive roster?

Employees have voiced fears about everything from layoffs to the future of the business to whether Twitter will continue to make money from advertising.

Employees asked why CEO Parag Agrawal “trusted” Musk, and how Musk “would be held accountable” when, as a private company, Twitter would have no board of directors. Executives offered assurances but few direct answers (no surprise there) and said that business would continue as usual until the deal goes through in three to six months.

What came to mind when I read Ross Gerber’s words above was the quote, “Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

Sharon D. Nelson, Esq., PresidentSensei Enterprises, Inc.
3975 University Drive, Suite 225Fairfax, VA 22030
Email:   Phone: 703-359-0700
Digital Forensics/Cybersecurity/Information Technology