Elon Musk's Twitter Acquisition
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Elon Musk's Twitter Acquisition refers to events in early 2022 that revolved around Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk acquiring Twitter which later came to fruition in October 2022. After hinting at buying the company and then being placed on its board of directors, Musk then made moves to buy the website's shares in April 2022 after not joining the board and thories about him attempting an impending "hostile takeover" appearing online.
He then offered roughly $43 billion dollars to buy Twitter, leading to controversy and inspiring reactions and memes across social media. In late April 2022, Musk's offer was accepted by the Twitter board of executives.
During the 2010s, Elon Musk was a strong proponent of Twitter and a notable user on the platform. For instance, on October 26th, 2018, Musk tweeted, "On Twitter, likes are rare & criticism is brutal. So hardcore. It’s great," earning roughly 145,300 likes in four years (shown below, left). On March 31st, 2019, Musk tweeted a reply stating, "Some people use their hair to express themselves, I use Twitter," earning roughly 5,600 likes in three years (shown below, right).
In 2020, Musk voiced his support for then Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey when he was under significant scrutiny. For instance, on March 2nd, 2020, he tweeted, "Just want say that I support @Jack as Twitter CEO. He has a good ❤️," earning roughly 69,400 likes in two years (shown below).
Going into the rest of 2020, Musk appeared to become increasingly displeased with how Twitter was being operated. On July 24th, 2020, he tweeted, "🌹 Twitter sucks," earning roughly 573,000 likes in two years.
Free Speech Concerns
Going into 2021 and 2022, Musk started to challenge Twitter, mostly centering on what he thought was a lack of free speech on the platform. On March 25th, 2022, he tweeted a poll in which he asked his followers, "Free speech is essential to a functioning democracy. Do you believe Twitter rigorously adheres to this principle?" The tweet earned roughly 189,000 likes and 2 million votes with 70.4 percent of them being "No" votes (shown below). Musk reiterated in a reply to his poll that "The consequences of this poll will be important. Please vote carefully," leading many to assume that he might want to take over Twitter or start a competitor platform.
Elon Musk Buys 9.2 Percent of Twitter, Joins Board of Directors
On April 4th, 2022, it was reported that Musk had bought a 9.2 percent stake of Twitter, becoming the largest shareholder. It was tweeted about by AP News on the 4th where over the course of 10 days, the tweet received roughly 3,400 likes.
Users reacted to the news in memes. For instance, on April 4th, Twitter user ParikPatelCFA captioned an image of Big Bird sitting at a conference table with, "Elon Musk at Twitter’s next board meeting after buying 9.2% of the company," earning roughly 16,300 likes in ten days (shown below).
"Edit" Button Poll
As part of his first day on the board of directors, Elon tweeted another poll for his followers, asking them, "Do you want an edit button?" The tweet earned roughly 344,700 likes and 4.4 million votes, with 73.6 percent of them being "Yes" votes (shown below).
Inspired by the poll, the "Edit" button was hinted at by the official Twitter account of the company the following day, earning roughly 36,800 likes in nine days (shown below).
— Twitter Comms (@TwitterComms) April 5, 2022
Elon Musk Declines Joining Twitter Board of Directors
On April 10th, 2022, it was revealed by Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal in a tweet that Musk was not joining Twitter's board of directors, stating, "Elon has decided not to join our board. I sent a brief note to the company, sharing with you all here" and sharing an attached image of a more extended note. The tweet earned roughly 102,600 likes in four days (shown below).
Speculation ensued regarding Musk trying to do a "hostile takeover" of Twitter. For instance, on April 10th, Twitter user Austen tweeted, "Hostile takeover inbound," earning roughly 1,800 likes in the same amount of time.
Elon Musk Offers $41.39 Billion to Buy Twitter
On April 14th, 2022, Musk tweeted, "I made an offer," attaching a link to a government statement detailing his offer to buy Twitter. The tweet earned roughly 485,300 likes in less than four hours (shown below). It was revealed in an article from Reuters that Musk had offered a $43 billion cash takeover of Twitter, essentially offering $54.20 per share. The news outlet's tweet regarding the development earned roughly 16,600 likes in less than four hours.
Inspired by Musk's financial move to buy Twitter and perform a hostile takeover of the platform, opponents of Musk started tweeting, "Leave Twitter," in reference to them leaving the platform if Musk became its owner. For instance, Twitter user TravisAllen02 asked his followers, "Will you leave Twitter if Elon Musk buys it?," earning roughly 6,000 likes in less than four hours (shown below).
Other users defended Musk's possible takeover and made fun of users who threatened to leave the platform. For instance, Twitter user caroljsroth compared the reaction to the 2016 election reaction of liberal Americans threatening to leave the United States and move to Canada if former President Donald Trump was elected, earning roughly 82,400 likes in less than four hours (shown below).
Overall, Twitter users had multiple, humorous reactions to the prospect of Elon Musk taking over as Twitter CEO. For example, on April 14th, 2022, Twitter user IMAO_ joked, "Elon Musk has also offered to buy CNN+ for twenty-eight bucks," earning roughly 43,400 likes in less than three hours (shown below, left). Also on the 14th, Twitter user mchooyah tweeted, "Show me on the little blue bird logo where @elonmusk hurt you. 😂," earning over 4,000 likes in less than four hours (shown below, right).
Elon Musk Buys Twitter
On April 24th, 2022, Twitter's board of executives held a meeting to discuss Elon Musk's "best and final" offer of $43 billion in cash. A week prior, they were purportedly skeptical, but over the course of the week, Musk lined up his $46.5 billion in financing and validated his claim. This made the board reconsider the offer, subsequently leading to the meeting. On the morning of April 25th, Bloomberg reported that Twitter was in, "the final stretch of negotiations about a $43 billion sale to Elon Musk that could rank as one of the biggest-ever leveraged buyouts of a listed company." The deal had the possibility of going through the same day, April 25th, 2022.
The YouTube channel of Bloomberg Markets and Finance posted a clip from their television coverage about the development on April 25th, 2022. The video received over 800 views in less than an hour (shown below).
On April 25th, 2022, The Independent reported that Twitter was going to accept Musk's offer. The only remaining factor would be the SEC finding an issue with Musk's financing. If the SEC did not find a reason to stop the sale, however, then Musk would succeed in his bid.
Later on in the day of April 25th, it was confirmed by The Independent that Twitter accepted Musk's bid to buy the company.
On April 25th, 2022, multiple Twitter accounts received mass engagement when reporting on the development. For instance, Twitter user JackPosobiec received roughly 18,400 likes for a tweet posted on the 25th in less than two hours (shown below, left). Some on the platform were opposed to Musk buying the website, like Twitter user mmpadellan, who tweeted on the 25th, "Someone's gotta hang around to say 'fuck Elon Musk,' right?" and earned roughly 3,000 likes in less than an hour (shown below, right).
Humorous reactions also surfaced on the April 25th. For instance, rapper Ice T tweeted, "It would kinda dope if Musk bought Twitter and just shut it off…. Lol," earning roughly 4,400 likes in less than an hour (shown below, left). Also, Twitter user bocxtop made a joke about Musk only buying Twitter to stop getting bullied, earning over 1,000 likes in less than an hour (shown below, right).
RIP Twitter / Leaving Twitter
Similar to the weeks prior, when the news dropped on the April 25th, 2022, that Musk's offer was being accepted, multiple Twitter users threatened to leave the platform and declared "RIP Twitter." Despite "RIP Twitter" trending on April 25th, many tweets using the phrase were from users criticizing the idea. For instance, Twitter user H3yImAlice posted a tweet and meme on April 25th that compared Elon Musk and President Joe Biden, earning over 1,000 likes in less than a day (shown below).
On April, 25th, 2022, the social media platform Mastodon started trending as an alternative to Twitter proposed by those who were against Musk's acquisition. The platform was originally launched in October 2016. On April 25th, 2022, Twitter user MalwareTechBlog posted a tweet about moving to Mastodon, earning over 820 likes in less than a day (shown below).
Project Veritas Leaks Elon Musk’s All Hands Twitter Meeting
On June 16th, 2022, Elon Musk addressed thousands of Twitter employees for the first time since the news broke that he had plans to acquire the company. Within the call, Musk praised Twitter as being the best platform for “getting a message out” but also noted that he was concerned about bots, spam and censorship amid its functions. He also touched on the global expansion of its userbase, issues with free speech and the voices of the alt-right and alt-left on Twitter.
Awareness of the aforementioned information was provided to the online public via a leak of the full-length meeting to YouTube  by the channel Project Veritas, which is an American far-right activist group founded by James O'Keefe in 2010 that surfaces information "to investigate and expose corruption, dishonesty, self-dealing, waste, fraud, and other misconduct in both public and private institutions in order to achieve a more ethical and transparent society." After being uploaded on June 16th, the video received roughly 128,100 views in less than a day (shown below).
News outlets such as Breitbart  wrote articles about the leak in the days that followed.
Many reactions were not initially positive as it was reported that Musk showed up 10 minutes late and dialed in from his phone. On June 16th, 2022, Twitter user alexeheath publicized this information in a tweet that received roughly 15,600 likes in one day (shown below, left). Also on June 16th, Twitter user alexeheath followed up with a reply that stated, "When asked why he loves Twitter, Elon says: 'Some people use their hair to express themselves. I use Twitter,'" earning roughly 3,100 likes in one day (shown below, right).
Others imagined who it was that leaked the screen recording to Project Veritas. For instance, Twitter user bennyjohnson speculated that it was Musk himself who leaked the meeting, earning over 860 likes in one day (shown below).
Imagine if @ElonMusk himself was Project Veritas’ source? 👀#TwitterAllHands pic.twitter.com/7rNphPg2zH
— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) June 16, 2022
Move To Terminate Deal
On July 8th, 2022, Elon Musk formally moved to terminate the Twitter deal, citing Twitter's inability to disclose information regarding Twitter's "spam" and "false" accounts, aka "bots." Twitter execs signaled their intent to bring Elon to court in order to enforce the $44 billion purchase he agreed to.
Elon Musk's Countersuit
Elon Musk launched a countersuit against Twitter on July 29th, 2022, claiming that the company misled him and inflated its own value by lying about matters such as bots. Twitter, however, claims that it provided the most accurate information it could to Musk. A court date has been set in Delaware in mid-October. Musk has sought to delay the trial to gather more information about Twitter.
Since Musk purportedly declined to go through due diligence, choosing to buy the company without thoroughly looking into its legal, technical or financial aspects (as is usually the practice when people buy companies, put in place to prevent situations like this one) many legal experts thought his case was weak.
However, revelations from former Twitter security chief Peter Zatko about alleged security flaws at Twitter, bots and the likely presence of foreign spies within the company seemed to bolster Musk's case. Following Zatko's whistleblower report to Congress, Musk filed another letter to terminate the purchase of Twitter.
Elon Musk Texts Leak / Billionaire Text Messages
During the course of Musk's countersuit, his text message records were entered into the court's record. They were leaked on September 29th, 2022, leading to much commentary about the glimpse they offered into the personal and professional lives of some of tech's most powerful people. The texts were made available online at documentcloud.org.
Texts between Musk and Jack Dorsey showed the Twitter co-founder and former CEO sketching out his vision of what a platform like Twitter should look like (namely, not organized as a company) and attempting to act as a go-between for Musk and Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal.
Texts between Musk and Agrawal appeared to show the two originally seeming to get along, but later butting heads. After Agrawal texted Musk critiquing his destabilizing posting and public statements, Musk replied, "What did you get done this week?" in a highly memed and joked-about exchange.
Texts between Musk and Larry Ellison showed Musk asking the libertarian mogul for a billion dollars to invest in Twitter in a remarkably casual manner, and Ellison then giving it with an equal amount of nonchalance.
Texts between Musk and Joe Rogan showed the podcaster and Musk seemingly planning a party if the purchase of Twitter went through.
Reaction to the leaked texts varied, with some praising Musk for the way he carried himself and his communication style, such as @negroprogrammer who noticed the sycophancy of some of Musk's contacts in a September 30th tweet that received nearly 200 likes in two days (seen below, left). Others, like Twitter user @ElSandifer (seen below, right) criticized the intelligence of Musk and the people he texts, seeing it as proof that the capitalist system does not select for intelligence.
Other texts showed Musk speculating about Blockchain with his brother Kimbal, talking with Republicans Ron DeSantis and Justin Amash indirectly about the future of the platform, and soliciting pitches from the CEO of Axel Springer, the company that owns Politico, for how to run Twitter.
Elon Musk Made Twitter CEO in October 2022
Starting on October 7th, 2022, Reuters, among other news outlets, reported that Elon Musk had to figure out how to finance the $44 billion takeover of Twitter by October 28th, 2022. At that time, Musk’s financing plan showed that the billionaire still needed to secure $22.4 billion to cover the equity financing portion of his deal. As October 28th approached, Musk was able to fully finance the deal, making up for a $2 billion to $3 billion gap in his financing plan. Experts are currently unsure how he was able to fill the gap.
On October 19th, 2022, Musk tweeted, "I will not let you down, no matter what it takes," in reference to the Twitter deal, gaining roughly 396,500 likes in nine days. On October 26th, 2022, Musk walked into the Twitter headquarters carrying a sink in reference to the "let that sink in" meme. On October 26th, he tweeted a video of the moment with the phrase in tow, gaining roughly 39.7 million views and 1.2 million likes in two days (shown below).
Entering Twitter HQ – let that sink in! pic.twitter.com/D68z4K2wq7
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 26, 2022
On October 27th, 2022, Musk tweeted two screenshots of a long-form answer as to why he bought Twitter (shown below). He captioned them "Dear Twitter Advertisers," in order to address their concerns regarding his motives. In one day, the tweet received roughly 670,200 likes.
Also on October 27th, 2022, Bloomberg reported that Musk had brought in engineers from Tesla to review Twitter's code. They were brought in "so they could assess and explain to Musk what the company needs."
As stated, on October 28th, 2022, Elon Musk officially became the CEO of Twitter.com, reported on by multiple news outlets on the day of. CEO Parag Agrawal and CFO Ned Segal officially left the company in tow. As stated in Bloomberg, Musk was also taking steps towards reversing lifetime bans in his push for "free speech" on the website.
Elon Musk Fires Vijaya Gadde
On October 27th, 2022, Twitter user bennyjohnson was one of many to report that Elon Musk had fired Vijaya Gadde (head of legal policy, trust and safety), gaining roughly 186,500 likes in one day (shown below, left). Musk's decision to fire Gadde was discussed in relation to Gadde being a main proponent of permanently suspending former U.S. President Donald Trump's account in January 2021.  On October 27th, 2022, Twitter user abdullah_0mar tweeted photos of Musk addressing Twitter personnel with Gadde pictured in the background, gaining roughly 40,300 likes in one day (shown below, right).
Memes and Reactions
Multiple memes and reactions surfaced on Twitter following Elon's acquisition of the company. A predominant amount of humorous notions centered on Musk's alleged reversal of lifetime Twitter bans, such as Donald Trump's, and his push for "free speech" on the platform, in that, any form of speech would be tolerated on the website.
For instance, on October 28th, 2022, Twitter user JUNlPER tweeted, "i Really hope elon musk reinstates ISIS twitter. we need to hear both sides in the marketplace of ideas, no more censorship," gaining over 6,000 likes in less than a day (shown below, left). On October 27th, 2022, Twitter user realBenLeBlanc joked about Musk's devotion to free speech, referencing an imagined passiveness regarding slurs. The tweet received over 4,100 likes in less than a day (shown below, right).
Elon's first day at Twitter, so far: pic.twitter.com/8KQ941xCTT— unusual_whales (@unusual_whales) October 28, 2022
2022 Twitter Layoffs / #OneTeam
2022 Twitter Layoffs and #OneTeam refers to reports of layoffs at Twitter headquarters in November 2022 following Elon Musk's Twitter acquisition. As employees learned they were laid off, they used the hashtag "#OneTeam" to share the news and show support for one another. Some believed the layoffs could be illegal due to California's WARN law.
Elon Musk Purportedly Stepping Down As Twitter CEO
Following multiple controversies and backlash over his first two months as Twitter CEO, Musk tweeted a poll on December 18th, 2022, that asked, "Should I step down as head of Twitter? I will abide by the results of this poll." In 24 hours, the poll received over 17.5 million votes with 57.5% voting "Yes" and 42.5% voting "No." Also, over the course of three days, the tweet received roughly 598,300 likes (shown below).
On December 18th and 19th, multiple reactions surfaced about Musk's poll. For instance, on December 18th, Twitter user dimeford tweeted a Simpsons meme that joked about Musk stepping down, gaining roughly 88,100 likes in three days (shown below, left). Also on December 18th, Twitter user NotABigJerk tweeted a reply to Musk, writing, "Regardless of the outcome, this is the most insecure tweet any of us will ever live to see," gaining roughly 128,300 likes in three days (shown below, right).
On December 19th, notable tech figure Kim Dotcom tweeted, "Hey @elonmusk, it’s unwise to run a poll like this when you are now deep state enemy #1. They have the biggest bot army on Twitter. They have 100k ‘analysts’ with 30-40 accounts all voting against you. Let’s clean up and then run this poll again. The majority has faith in you. 😘," and gained over 95,500 likes in two days. Kim Dotcom continued the thread until Musk ultimately replied, "Interesting," on December 19th. Then, Twitter user Unfilteredboss1 suggested in the thread, "Blue subscribers should be the only ones that can vote in policy related polls. We actually have skin in the game." This prompted Musk to tweet, "Good point. Twitter will make that change," on December 19th, 2022, gaining roughly 25,600 likes in two days (thread shown below).
After the poll's voting time was over and Elon had technically been asked to step down as Twitter's CEO, he replied to the poll with a separate tweet on December 20th, 2022, writing, "I will resign as CEO as soon as I find someone foolish enough to take the job! After that, I will just run the software & servers teams." The reply received roughly 258,900 likes in one day (shown below).
Many Twitter users started to joke about who should take Musk's place as Twitter CEO. For instance, MySpace's Tom Anderson tweeted a screenshot from his MySpace profile that humorously suggested that he should acquire the roll, receiving roughly 57,300 likes in one day (shown below, left). On December 21st, 2022, a Twitter account pretending to be Satan tweeted, "heard you were looking for a new CEO.. @elonmusk," gaining over 7,800 likes in one hour (shown below, right).
 Twitter – @ParikPatelCFA
 Reuters – Elon Musk makes $43 billion cash takeover offer for Twitter
 Twitter – @TravisAllen02
 Twitter – @caroljsroth
 NYT – Twitter Nears a Deal to Sell Itself to Elon Musk
 Bloomberg – Twitter Eyes Deal With Musk as Soon as Monday
 The Independent – Twitter expected to accept Elon Musk’s bid to buy company
 Twitter – @JackPosobiec
 Twitter – @mmpadellan
 Twitter – @FINALLEVEL
 Twitter – @H3yImAlice
 Twitter – @MalwareTechBlog
 Twitter – Twitter expected to accept Elon Musk’s bid to buy company
 YouTube – Project Veritas
 YouTube – Project Veritas' 'About' Section
 Breitbart – Project Veritas Leaks Elon Musk’s All-Hands Meeting with Twitter
 Twitter – @alexeheath
 Twitter – @alexeheath
 Twitter – @bennyjohnson
 Reuters – Judge Orders Trial
 NPR – A former employee accuses Twitter of big security lapses in a whistleblower complaint
 NPR – Elon Musk wants to get out of buying Twitter. A whistleblower's claims might help him
 The Atlantic – Elon Musk’s Texts Shatter the Myth of the Tech Genius
 documentcloud.org – elon musk exhibits
 Twitter – @TechEmails
 Twitter – @scott_nover
 Twitter – @negroprogrammer
 Twitter – @ElSandifer
 Twitter – Explainer: How Elon Musk funded $44 billion Twitter deal?
 ABC News – Elon Musk closes deal to acquire Twitter, fires top execs: Source
 Twitter – @bennyjohnson
 The Week – Who is Vijaya Gadde, the Twitter legal chief who led Trump ban?
 Twitter – @abdullah_0mar
 Bloomberg – Tesla Engineers Visit Twitter Office to Review Code for Musk
 Bloomberg – Musk Takes Twitter Helm, Enacts Sweeping Change as Deal Closes
 Twitter – @realBenLeBlanc
 Twitter – @NotABigJerk
 Twitter – @myspacetom
 Twitter – @KimDotcom
 Twitter – @Unfilteredboss1
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