Elon Musk Takes Over Twitter, Latin Reacts


Caroline McHugh

Elon Musk’s Twitter Homepage

Elon Musk purchased the social media site Twitter on October 27. Musk, the Chief Executive Officer of Tesla and SpaceX, bought the company for $44 billion, and has since proposed extensive changes to the platform.

“Please note that Twitter will do lots of dumb things in coming months,” Musk said in a recent tweet. “We will keep what works [and] change what doesn’t.” Musk intends to test plenty of new ideas to carry out what he views as Twitter’s mission: “to become by far the most accurate source of information about the world.”

“I think that he’s a crazy guy that got hold of a crazy situation,” freshman Ben Laytin said. Musk’s personal Twitter account, active before his acquisition of the platform, is infamous for its eccentric and sometimes problematic tweets. In one day, Musk’s tweets might range from joking about “back when birds were real” to proclaiming that he’s “open to the idea of voting Democrat.”

“Some of his tweets are pretty funny because he sounds like an angry child,” Upper School computer science teacher Ash Hansberry said.

Similarly, freshman Thomas Dwyer said, “I think half of his Twitter posts are just shower thoughts,” alluding to their randomness.

“I think it’s bad that he fired half the company on his first day,” freshman Teddy Lampert said. Musk released around half of the company’s employees following the Twitter deal’s closure, tweeting that “there is no choice when the company is losing over $4M/day.”

The layoffs have been subject to mass controversy, given that many of these employees played a role in making the company successful. “Regardless of how you feel about him, [firing so many people] is not a cool thing to do,” Mx. Hansberry said.

Musk’s motive for acquiring Twitter, as he commented on in a Tweet, is to transform it into a place “where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner.” Predating Musk’s acquisition of Twitter, the platform had been used for discourse on a wide variety of topics. However, Twitter has faced some controversy in this regard. Some claim the site suppresses certain beliefs, citing the ban of former President Donald Trump.

Since buying the company, Musk has introduced a new feature in the app: Twitter Blue. By paying a monthly subscription, users can have a blue checkmark next to their usernames. Previously, the checkmark’s purpose was to certify the legitimacy of public figures’ accounts. This certification is most widely known as verification. “You pay eight dollars to get a check mark, and there’s no verification whatsoever,” Mx. Hansberry said.

“The whole problem social media has is impersonating people, and so if you pay to get verified for somebody that you’re not, it could potentially be bad,” Mx. Hansberry said. “Imagine someone put their username as that of some political candidate and then paid eight dollars to get a check mark.” On November 11, the Twitter Blue was paused due to users abusing the service in this manner.

“I used to like Elon Musk because of the rockets and electric cars,” Ben said. “Now he’s like, ‘the country’s collapsing and only I know how to fix it, so I’m going to buy Twitter.’”

“The rocket is pretty cool. And the cars,” Thomas said, sharing a similar sentiment to Ben. “His Twitter is kind of messed up, but the fact that he has [helped revolutionize electric cars] is pretty cool.”

“I agree, it is pretty cool that he puts money into innovation,” Mx. Hansberry said.

Since Musk’s takeover, rumors have circulated about Twitter’s possible collapse, leaving the future of the social media network uncertain. “He could do good things with [Twitter], but he could also do really bad things,” Teddy said.