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Twitter: ‘Elon Musk must buy our company’

Should social media be owned by its members? An epic legal battle has begun after Twitter announced it is suing Elon Musk over a failed takeover bid. But should users get more say? The Twitter shareholder was thrilled. Elon MuskA South African-born entrepreneur whose companies have included the online payment service PayPal. was going to buy the company. Now she would be mega-rich! But then came the awful news: Musk had changed his mind. Musk started trying to buy Twitter in April. At first he faced oppositionBeing against something. . But then the enormous price was agreed.   A few weeks later Musk seemed to get cold feet. He demanded to know how many of Twitter’s 229 million regular users were real people, not botsShort for 'robot', a program that automatically completes simple and repetitive tasks. They can imitate humans online.. Twitter’s boss replied that fewer than 5% were bots. Musk thinks the answer is more like 20%. But there could be other reasons for his second thoughts. When he made his bid, tech companies were doing much better than they are now. Twitter shares have since fallen by nearly 40%. Shares in Musk’s car company, Tesla, have also fallen considerably. Shareholders worry that he could not focus properlyMusk is already running SpaceX, Neuralink and the Boring Company as well as Tesla. on it if he was running Twitter as well.    On Friday, Musk announced that he was pulling out of the Twitter deal, even though he had signed a contract. Now the company is suing him to stop that happening. People on the political right are hoping the sale will go through. Musk has accused Twitter of left-wing biasMusk has joked that Twitter’s head office could be used as a shelter for homeless people. and criticised it for banning Donald Trump. But many people dread the idea of Musk taking over. Martin Skaldany writes in Prospect that it would lead to him “imposing his vision of free speech on the world". It would lead to less action against harmful content and more fake news. Skaldany calls for “crowd takeovers” to resist people like Musk: “Citizens should step in and take control when media owners fail to.” Robert Reich of The Guardian fears that Musk would be “the wizard behind the curtainA reference to the film The Wizard of Oz.” pretending that the internet was “a brave new worldA phrase from Shakespeare’s play The Tempest which was used as the title of a dystopian novel by Aldous Huxley. empowering everyone". In fact, it would be dominated by wealthy people “who wouldn’t be accountable to anyone".  Should social media be owned by its members? Splitting Twitter Yes: Platforms such as Twitter and Facebook are far too influential to be left in the hands of individuals or private companies. They have already proved to be a serious threat to democracy.  

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