So whether the best era of Twitter is about to begin, or whether this is the beginning of the end of the service, let’s be honest, no one knows. Here’s what we do know, in tweet-length bursts:
>> Musk said his initial bid, $54.20 per share, was his “best and final offer,” and sure enough, that’s exactly what the Twitter board accepted 11 days later.
>> Nothing changes in the short term. The deal process will take several months. Musk may not take control of Twitter until the fall.
>> Musk has made certain pledges to users, including “making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating the spam bots, and authenticating all humans.” Now he will be held to those.
>> Regarding questions about whether Musk will reinstate Donald Trump’s account, CEO Parag Agrawal told staffers, “Once the deal closes, we will know what direction the platform will go.”
>> How was Twitter’s first quarter? The company will still report Q1 earnings on Thursday, but in light of the deal, there will not be a conference call for analysts.
>> So: When will Musk elaborate on his plans? Will he do it through Twitter or through methods that allow for more detail and nuance?
Will Trump be back?
BY OLIVER DARCY:
>> Brian Lowry adds: “For what it’s worth, put me in the column of people who think that for conservatives who have been railing about being discriminated against on social media, Musk acquiring Twitter might wind up being a ‘Be careful what you wish for’ moment. And because there’s a marketing aspect to that concept of being victimized by Big Tech, it might be hard to let go of it, regardless of what changes the new ownership brings to the platform….”
Crunching the #’s
BY HARRY ENTEN:
Musk’s purchase of Twitter put a man best liked by Republicans in charge of a platform disproportionately used by Democrats. Musk’s net favorability (i.e. how much higher his favorable than unfavorable rating is) score in recent polling is about +50 points among Republicans compared to -10 points among Democrats. This is very different from earlier polling on the subject that showed little partisan gap in Musk’s appeal.
No doubt that Musk’s recent statements on loads of subjects (including negative comments about Biden) have caused a partisan rift.
The shifting opinions come just as Musk is about to take over the predominantly Dem-leaning Twitter. A Pew poll from last summer reveals that 67% of Twitter users lean Democratic compared to 30% who lean Republican. We’ll see if Musk’s purchase changes the #’s. Regardless, it’s important to keep in mind two things. One, Musk remains fairly popular overall with positive sentiments amongst those who hold an opinion outrunning negative by a 3:2 margin. Two, only 23% of Americans use Twitter, which makes it tiny compared to the 66% who use Facebook…
Food for thought
>> Analyst Michael Nathanson: “Twitter’s sale for $54.20 is final evidence that the idea of Twitter has been far more valuable than the actual long-run operations of Twitter!”