Did Elon kill Twitter?

Jan 27, 2023 by
Did Elon kill Twitter?

There are few more polarising figures in modern pop culture than Elon Musk.

To some, he’s a spoilt rich kid who struck it lucky when he bet the farm on electric cars, to others he’s a legitimate genius with a defiant and singular vision. To many more, however, his recent moves seem to have earmarked him as a professional right-wing troll while others see him as essentially a real-life James Bond villain. What he is, unequivocally, however, is the owner of Twitter. At least for now.

But while his ascent to the head role at the world’s most iconic social media platform made for a great story, it seems to have almost completely decimated whatever goodwill the platform once enjoyed. Because, while more people might be talking about Twitter in 2023, it would appear nowhere near as many will actually be using it.

How did we get here?

$44 billion is more money than most of us can even fathom but that’s the price Elon Musk paid for Twitter. It’s a move that lost him more money at a faster pace than any other individual in history and the saga began back in April last year when he first announced plans to buy the company.

The deal didn’t end up solidifying until the end of October after a gargantuan back and forth that oscillated between Musk being 100% behind the offer and trying to pull out of it completely. It reached a point over the summer where Twitter sued Musk to enforce the deal. So not the best start.

Fast forward to November when the ink was finally dry and the controversial moves began almost as soon as the man took the helm. Not only did we see massive layoffs and a new charge for the coveted “blue tick” but a widely circulated office memo essentially telling employees they either had to be prepared to work 100 hours a week or leave.

It’s three months later now and things are not much better. At the time of writing, the company faces a $300 million interest payment on the $13 billion of debt Musk used to buy the company and faces a potential default that could trigger either debt restructuring or bankruptcy.

Where are we going?

In some ways, it almost feels like Musk is sinking Twitter for his own amusement at this point. His personal brand has been either tarnished or bolstered (depending on your political alignment) to dizzying extremes and there’s the thought he could be following his buddy Kanye West into cultural memedom.

He knew the writing was on the wall from the start. Indeed, he even warned from the get-go that the company could go bankrupt. He also admitted that there was a sharp downturn in advertising revenue after his takeover as many brands decided they wanted nothing to do with the man and his ego trip given his increasingly extreme right-wing views.

There’s every chance that Elon Musk could prove the naysayers wrong and make good on his promise to root out the bots from Twitter and make it the “home of free speech” on the internet. But he keeps stepping on his own toes and we can’t see that stopping anytime soon.

Maybe he can do the wise thing that his users voted for (albeit in an unofficial capacity) and step down from his role as CEO, taking more of a backseat role. Somebody has to take charge of Tesla anyway… unless they’re sending tweets to supposedly impact its stocks.