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Twitter is dead, long live the portal

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Twitter is dead, long live the portal

Lea Feiger: I can’t wait to hear about all that. But let’s start with Elon Musk. If I were to trace the end of Twitter, I would obviously start with it. David, why did Musk buy Twitter? Take us back to that time.

David Gilbert: I have a feeling you’ve been thinking about buying Twitter for a while. He had been one of the main characters on Twitter for years and had always been very vocal about his opinions and the type of content he posted there. But starting in 2020, once Donald Trump was kicked off the platform and there was a major shutdown of content related to COVID-19 and vaccines, he became increasingly outraged by what he saw as excessively objectionable I felt that people of a certain point of view were silenced on the platform. Of course, that was something that not only Musk felt, but many conservatives also felt like they were being silenced. For a while he floated the idea that he was going to buy it. Many of his followers were urging him, and he has many followers, to say that he should buy it, that he should take over it and turn it into his utopian social media platform. In early 2022, he did. He decided to present an offer of 44 billion dollars. Very quickly, he decided to turn around and say, “No, I don’t really want to do that.”

(Archive audio clip): Then you changed your mind again and decided to buy it. You did that-

Elon Musk (Archive audio clip): Well, I had to do it.

(Archive audio clip): Good. Did you do that because you thought a court would force you to do it?

Elon Musk (Archive audio clip): Yeah.

(Archive audio clip): Good.

Elon Musk (Archive audio clip): Yes, that’s the reason.

Lea Feiger: I always forget it. I always forget him and I love him very much.

David Gilbert: I don’t really remind people of it too much. It was finally approved and Musk took over and made changes very quickly. I’m not sure, at the time, Makena, do you think he really had a vision in mind of what the Twitter version of him would be like?

Makena Kelly: No, I don’t think it was more of a vision than revenge.

David Gilbert: Yeah.

Makena Kelly: If you look at that time, it’s around the same time as regulators, even just the news, there’s more skepticism about what Elon Musk is doing. There is this messiah character who will take us to a beautiful progressive world where we all drive autonomous vehicles and have solar panels on our houses. People were beginning to be much more critical of him. Twitter is a space where you have news makers, trendsetters, very important people on this platform who use it every day and that’s where you can really generate a lot of conversation. I feel like Elon Musk, even if it wasn’t the most important thing, I think he at least subconsciously knew that having some kind of power over this platform would be useful for him and his brand.

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