Billionaire and South African apartheid emerald mine heir Elon Musk has launched a mission to take over all of Twitter with his money, officially offering over $43 billion “in cash” for full control of the social media platform after becoming a majority shareholder. Just days ago, it was announced that he purchased a 9.2 percent stake in the company yet declined an offer to join its board of directors, apparently now preferring to just take the platform entirely.

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This move has been described as an attempt at a “hostile takeover,” prompting Twitter to adopt a “poison pill” defense that would stop or delay any one person from taking total control of the company without paying shareholders a premium. However, this may not be enough to keep the platform from falling into Musk’s hands and turning it into a private company that he could twist into whatever he wanted.

“I believe free speech is a societal imperative for a functioning democracy,” Musk said in the securities filing submitted on Thursday. “I now realize the company will neither thrive nor serve this societal imperative in its current form.”

While Musk has many fans, he also has many of the opposite of fans, resulting in an outcry on Twitter against this possible attempt at a hostile takeover of a platform so many people use to connect to each other and current events in real time. Many fear that he would remove protections against abusive and dangerous users such as white supremacists and other bigots, turning the website into a toxic space not safe for any member of a marginalized and oppressed group.

There are also many jokes to be had about the weird and often terrible billionaire Twitter user, many suggesting that Musk is attempting to buy the platform for reasons ranging from petty to “must distract people from the news that my factories are racist nightmares.”

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*First Published: April 15, 2022, 11:30 am