Elon Musk ‘freed the bird’, with the finalisation of the Twitter acquisition on October 27th, but in doing so released a probable onslaught of online hate speech as well. The process started in April 2022, when the Twitter board accepted his offer to buy out the platform for $43 billion. Since the takeover, the subject has generated an incredible amount of interest, of which memes and jokes were plentiful. Although at the moment, much of the commentary on Musk’s takeover is humoristic, it is important to note that this is a very significant change in the social media sphere. Musk is now the single owner of a privatised platform, and is now single-handedly capable of deciding what can and cannot be posted on Twitter. Musk’s own explanation for the purchase is that he wanted to “help humanity” by creating an unmonitored, uncensored platform where free speech is accepted and promoted.
Now that the takeover has actually happened, there has been a great deal of conjecture as to how the platform will change, as Musk has dissolved the Twitter board and has become the sole board member. In his first two weeks as owner of Twitter, his plans for the platform have gone from firing about half the staff, to charging people $8 per month in order to be a verified account, to announcing that parody accounts have to explicitly state that they are parody accounts.