Musk’s Twitter takeover: Staff and students express concerns



After Elon Musk’s $44 billion purchase of Twitter on Oct. 27, users are concerned about the platform’s future. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

By Kaitlyn Lee-Gordon, News Reporter

DeKALB – Tension continues to rise after Elon Musk’s recent purchase of Twitter.

Elon Musk finalized his $44 billion deal with Twitter on Oct. 27 after ousting the company’s previous CEO and taking their place, according to the Associated Press.

As one of his first few acts of business, Musk decided to terminate half of Twitter’s staff, while giving the rest an ultimatum to commit to more intense than usual work, according to an email obtained by The Washington Post.

Musk has previously expressed his views on free speech and content restrictions on social media posts on the platform.

Amador Rodriguez, a first-year business major, said she thinks that the future of the social media platform is likely to become worse with lack of restrictions.

“I feel like it’s gonna be more toxic than it already is,” Rodriguez said. “It’s going to be hard to filter everything out. It’s going to take a while, but I do see it going downhill.”

David Gunkel, professor of media studies at NIU, said he thinks that Musk has made concerning statements about freedom of speech on the platform.

“So he (Musk) had this kind of naive understanding of free speech that he could just purchase the platform and then just open it up to his taking of being an extreme understanding of freedom of expression,” Gunkel said.

Gunkel said that Musk pulling out from his initial purchase agreement of Twitter may have been because he was overwhelmed by the responsibility of a large social media company.

“I think, as he began to learn what exactly it would mean to own a platform of this size and to be responsible for its administration, it became increasingly evident to him that this was gonna be a larger task than I think even he had anticipated,” Gunkel said. “Although there’s no moment, I think, in this process where there’s been a revelation where he’s actually come clean about that, but I think that’s the best thinking people had on why he tried to back out.”

Musk said on Nov. 16 in court that in the future, he wishes to find a new CEO for Twitter, according to the Associated Press.

Gunkel said that as of now, the future of Twitter is uncertain after Musk’s purchase.

“The first two weeks of his takeover period have been really chaotic and very disturbing, not only for users, but also for advertisers, as he laid off a number of the staff,” Gunkel said. “So, it’s been a tumultuous two weeks, and it’s anyone’s guess to how it’s gonna shape out.”