Movement in social media
Elon Musk closes deal to buy Twitter for $44 billion
This past Thursday, Oct. 26, Elon Musk closed the deal to buy Twitter for $44 billion. This deal follows an agreement from April 25 for Musk to purchase Twitter; Musk’s purchase will make Twitter a private company once again. Musk tweeted a video of him walking into Twitter headquarters carrying a sink with the caption, “Entering Twitter HQ – let that sink in!” on the day before the deal was completed, Oct. 26.
On Oct. 27, Musk tweeted a message to Twitter advertisers explaining his motivation for purchasing Twitter. “The reason I acquired Twitter is because it is important to the future of civilization to have a common digital town square, where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner, without resorting to violence,” Musk wrote. He also discussed his discontentment from polarized extremes. A Tweet later that day from Musk read “the bird is freed.”
The following day, Musk announced that a “content moderation council with widely diverse viewpoints" will be formed at Twitter. According to Musk, no major content decisions or account reinstatements will happen before that council convenes. Previously, Musk stated that he wanted to reverse former President Donald Trump’s Twitter ban. Musk later clarified that day that no changes have been made to Twitter’s content moderation policies.
As part of Musk’s takeover, layoffs have occurred, and are expected to continue. According to Ross Gerber, the chief executive of Gerber Kawasaki Wealth and Investment Management, he was told by the head of Musk’s family office that he should expect somewhere around 50 percent of Twitter’s employees to be laid off.
Musk also terminated a number of Twitter executives “for cause,” which implies that Musk alleges that he had justification for terminating their positions. This includes former chief executive Parag Agrawal, former chief financial officer Ned Segal, former general counsel Sean Edgett, and former top policy and legal executive Vijaya Gadde.
Musk’s Twitter bio now reads “Chief Twit” and his location is set to “Twitter HQ.”
Kanye West plans to acquire Parler
Parler, a social media company that is self-described as being “built upon a foundation of respect for privacy and personal data, free speech, free markets, and ethical, transparent corporate policy” is set to be bought by Kanye West (who now goes by Ye), who has recently been under fire for making antisemitic comments.
Parlement Technologies, the parent company of Parler, made the announcement that an agreement in principle to sell Parler to Ye has been made. According to Parler’s press release, “Under the terms of their agreement in principle, the parties intend to enter into a definitive purchase agreement and expect to close during the fourth quarter of 2022. The terms of the proposed transaction would include ongoing technical support from Parlement and the use of private cloud services via Parlement’s private cloud and data center infrastructure.” The cost of the agreement has not yet been revealed.
According to Ye, “In a world where conservative opinions are considered to be controversial we have to make sure we have the right to freely express ourselves.” Parler has previously received criticism for its practices and was offline for a month in early 2021 when Amazon cut cloud support to the network. West was recently locked out of Twitter and Instagram following a series of antisemitic posts on both platforms.
Meta’s valuation sinks by $700 billion
This past Thursday, Meta stock prices sank 24 percent to their lowest level in nearly four years following their earning reports. While the entire tech industry is struggling, Meta’s decline has outpaced the rest of the tech sector, with its shares being down 67 percent year-to-date, compared to the 31 percent of tech-heavy Nasdaq index.
Last October, Facebook changed its name to Meta Platforms to signal its focus on the “metaverse.” A year later, the company has seen $9.4 billion in losses because of the metaverse. While Chief Executive Officer of Meta Mark Zuckerberg is “pretty confident this is going in a good direction,” investors don’t feel the same way. Horizon Worlds, which is Meta’s new virtual space, changed its monthly active users goal from 500,000 to 280,000. However, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal, the platform attracts less than 200,000 active monthly users.
Facebook is also seeing slower growth compared to previous years. While Facebook saw a three percent increase in users compared to this time last year, it is small compared to previous platform growth. This comes after Facebook reported it had lost users for the first time in history in February.
Meta has also been experiencing a drop in advertising revenue; the company saw a 3.7 percent decrease in advertising revenue this last quarter. The primary advertising platforms owned by Meta include Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. This comes from the recent economic slowdown — this means advertisers are cutting spending — and Apple’s recent privacy changes that allows consumers to ask apps not to track them. Facebook has said that this will cost it $10 billion in revenue this year.