Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter for $44 billion (R690 billion) will significantly expand the billionaire’s business empire.
The billionaire spent around 20% of his net worth on the social media platform. He is then likely to expect some return for his investment.
Twitter’s business model is currently based on advertising generating most of its money. Musk has indicated he wants to introduce a subscription model.
This is a risk, as most other social media networks are free.
Most social networks use their users’ data to make a profit, so would Twitter users be willing to pay to protect their data?
In an interview with Ticker News, Dan Ives, a technology analyst, said the worry for Musk will be the distraction that Twitter might bring.
He said Musk will now be “juggling a lot of balls at the same time” now that Twitter is added to his portfolio of businesses that also includes Tesla, SpaceX, Neuralink, Hyperloop and OpenAI.
When asked if Musk is becoming a modern-day monarch, Ives suggested it is a trend with billionaires these days.
“The powerful are just continuing to expand,” said Ives.
Human rights groups concerned
Meanwhile, several human rights groups have raised concerns over Musk’s takeover of Twitter, citing the potential rise of hate speech and the power it will give the Tesla boss.
Musk has previously described himself as a “free speech absolutist” and has long been critical of Twitter’s desire to moderate content, adding Twitter needs to “become a genuine forum for free speech”.
But regardless of the owner, Human Rights Watch says “the company has responsibilities to respect the rights of people around the world”.
It warns “changes to policies, features, and algorithms can have disproportionate and sometimes devastating impacts”.
The American Civil Liberties Union believes “there’s a lot of danger having so much power in the hands of any one individual”.