Twitter’s future looks uncertain

The world’s richest man, Elon Musk, has acquired Twitter, the most influential platform for public conversations in the present time. After closing the $44-billion acquisition deal, Musk, the maverick billionaire who often evokes public outrage with his weird and cringe-worthy views on certain social issues, has begun the purging operation, summarily removing the senior executives of Twitter, including its CEO Parag Agarwal. More importantly, he is delisting the company’s stock and taking it out of the hands of public shareholders. With this, the microblogging site is entering uncharted territory.

Unlike publicly traded companies, privately held firms do not have to make quarterly public disclosures about their performance. They are also subject to less regulatory scrutiny and can be more tightly controlled by an owner. That means that Musk can transform Twitter – including tweaking the platform’s content rules, its finances and its priorities – without having to consider the worries of the investing public. As it is, the owners of social media sites wield disproportionate power. The oligarchs of the internet world not only command larger audiences than the media barons of earlier eras, but they also operate under fewer constraints. The veil of secrecy that comes with being a privately owned company, clubbed with the sheer indispensability of social media platforms, warrants a more robust system of checks and balances and far greater transparency and accountability. Though Musk has proclaimed himself to be a “free speech absolutist,” his online conduct has been quite contrary. The future of Twitter looks uncertain. This will impact the freedom that people enjoy in social media platforms like Twitter to express their views.