Some billionaires buy newspapers, magazines and sports teams. Elon Musk is trying to buy a social network that he himself admits might cause much of the world to hate him.
“Everyone will still blame me for everything,” Musk said during an on-stage interview at the TED conference on Thursday. “If I acquire Twitter and something goes wrong, it’s my fault 100%. I think there will be quite a few errors.”
Sounds promising. So why exactly does the world’s richest man — who is already running multiple companies with ambitious goals like taking humans to Mars — want to buy Twitter (TWTR), a social media platform which, for all its benefits, is facing scrutiny for content issues like hate speech and misinformation, and also fighting to reignite user growth?
Musk has repeatedly stressed in recent days that his goal is to bolster free speech on the platform and work to “unlock” Twitter’s “extraordinary potential.” Others have suggested he may be more interested in boosting attention for himself, whether or not the deal goes through. Twitter’s leadership, shareholders and employees are now left to ponder this question in the wake of Musk’s stunning offer on Thursday to acquire all the shares in Twitter he does not own at a valuation of $41.4 billion.