US businessman Elon Musk is trying to buy the social media platform Twitter. If he is successful, it could cost him more than $43 billion (US).
Musk is perhaps best known as the founder and main owner of Tesla, which makes electric vehicles. He also created SpaceX, which makes rockets that go to the moon. He is the richest person in the world, with more than $264.6 billion (US) dollars, according to Forbes magazine.
Twitter is used by more than 200 million people around the world every day, to post messages and connect.
In January 2021, then-President Donald Trump was permanently banned from Twitter because he posted tweets that contained misinformation. He had more than 88 million followers. Twitter said Trump had violated the platform’s “glorification of violence” and that his messages, which contained false information, could cause some people to become violent. Many people shared Twitter’s view of this.
Since the pandemic started, Twitter has also banned people for posting lies about things like the effectiveness of vaccines.
Elon Musk is known to be against bans like this, which he considers censorship. Censorship, in this case, is when someone prevents someone from saying something or “speaking freely.” Musk said he supports everyone’s right to free speech.
If he buys Twitter, it’s likely that Musk would stop such bans.
The people who run Twitter don’t want Musk to buy the company. To try to prevent it, they have said they will create a “poison pill”—which is not a real pill or real poison. A “poison pill” is a business move that essentially makes Twitter more difficult to purchase and could prevent Musk from buying it.
(How does a “poison pill” work? Very simply put, Twitter would flood the stock market with large quantities of cheap Twitter stocks. That would make it much more complicated for Musk to purchase the company.)
Some people say that the “poison pill” business move would likely delay the purchase, but probably wouldn’t prevent it altogether. Musk has said that if Twitter’s leaders don’t want him to make the purchase, he may decide to walk away from the deal.
The business world is watching to see what happens in this interesting turn of events.
THINK & DISCUSS
- Do you think it is okay for Elon Musk to purchase Twitter? Why or why not? What, in this article, helped to lead you to that opinion?
2. What did you learn from this article about “poison pills”? What questions do you still have about that?
3. If Elon Musk owned Twitter, it would place a very large communications platform in the hands of one already very powerful person. Discuss why that might be a problem.
4. If you had $264 billion, what are five things you would do with it?
5. Listen to the song “If I had a Million Dollars,” by the Barenaked Ladies (link below) and, if you can, take a look at the lyrics. Discuss.
6. Do you think Elon Musk will be successful in purchasing Twitter? What obstacles does he face? Find information in the article to support your answer.
7. What else do you know about Elon Musk? What keywords would you use in Google to gather that information?
LINKS TO RELATED INFORMATION
BNN Bloomberg article about Musk wanting to buy Twitter: https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/elon-musk-seeking-to-buy-twitter-for-us-43b-1.1752212
Elon Musk recently tweeted a link to this BNN Bloomberg article that praises his business success: https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2022-04-18/elon-musk-in-defense-of-the-tesla-ceo-s-managerial-excellence
Washington Post article about whether Elon Musk would reinstate Trump on Twitter: https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2022/04/07/elon-musk-trump-twitter-free-speech-ban/
Forbes profile of Elon Musk: https://www.forbes.com/profile/elon-musk/?sh=4a4e05617999
YouTube video of the Barenaked Ladies’ hit song “If I Had a Million Dollars” (4:26): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aynCgnbbgbM