Tag Archives: Twitter

Twitter Accepts Elon Musk’s Buyout Deal

If you have spent any time on Twitter today, you may have noticed that Elon Musk has bought the platform. This news was posted in a press release titled: “Elon Musk to Acquire Twitter”.

From the press release:

Twitter Inc., today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by an entity wholly owned by Elon Musk, for $54.20 per share in cash in a transaction valued at approximately $44 billion. Upon completing of the transaction, Twitter will become a privately held company.

Under the terms of the agreement, Twitter stockholders will receive $54.20 in cash for each share of Twitter common stock that they own upon closing of the proposed transaction. The purchase price represents a 38% premium to Twitter’s closing stock price on April 1, 2022, which was the last trading day before Mr. Musk disclosed his approximately 9% stake in Twitter.

The press release also includes a quote from Elon Musk: “Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated,” said Mr. Musk. “I also want to make Twitter better than ever by enhancing the product with new features, making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating the spam bots, and authenticating all humans. Twitter has tremendous potential – I look forward to working with the company and the community of users to unlock it.”

CNBC reported that Twitter would become a private company on completion of the deal, which requires shareholder and regulatory approval.

CNBC also reported: Assuming the deal closes and Musk takes ownership of Twitter, the company will be controlled by the world’s richest person and someone who’s been a heavy critic of the platform while using it in legally contentious ways, mostly through sensitive posts about his car manufacturer, Tesla.

In addition, CNBC reported: Though Musk has indicated that his primary interest in Twitter has to do with what he views as the company’s censorship of free speech, Musk critics are concerned that the billionaire’s control over the platform will result in the silencing of voices and others with whom he may disagree, given that he’s often blocked critics from his personal account.

I spent some time on Twitter reading tweets about Musk’s buyout. A few people announced that they would be leaving Twitter (with some wanting to delete their tweets first). Many people posted tweets indicating that they believed that there would soon be no moderating of Twitter whatsoever. Some of that group decided to make snarky tweets about people who don’t match their own, personal, political views.

As for me, I’m going to wait and see what happens.

Twitter Prohibits Misleading Ads About Climate Change

Twitter is prohibiting ads that provide misleading information about climate change. This was posted in Twitter’s blog titled: “Accelerating our climate commitments on Earth Day”, which was written by Director of Sustainability, Seán Boyle, and Global Sustainability Manager, Casey Junod.

This month, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published a new and alarming report, underscoring the urgency of the climate crisis – “immediate and deep emissions reductions,” they wrote, are necessary to turn the tide on global warming.

Twitter has put in place a “climate-forward approach to ads”. Last year, the company introduced a dedicated Topic to help people find personalized conversations about climate change. Twitter has also rolled out something they call “pre-bunks” which is described in their blog as “hubs of credible, authoritative information across a range of key themes, like the science backing climate change”. It is available in the Explore tab, Search, and Trends.

Twitter makes it clear that misleading advertisements, that contradict the scientific consensus on climate change are prohibited, in line with their inappropriate content policy. The blog post specifically states: “We believe that climate denialism shouldn’t be monetized on Twitter, and that misrepresentative ads shouldn’t detract from important conversations about the climate crisis.” It also says “We recognize that misleading information about climate change can undermine efforts to protect the planet.”

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recommends the following to “at least halve” emissions by 2030: a widespread reduction in fossil fuel use, widespread electrification, improved energy efficiency, and use of alternative fuels (such as hydrogen). It also recommends walkable cities, electrification of transport in combination with low-emission energy sources, and enhanced carbon uptake and storage using nature.

The Washington Post reported that Twitter will be relying on reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to inform its decisions about which advertisements break its rules.

According to The Washington Post, Twitter’s announcement, that coincided with Earth Day, is part of a larger trend of social media companies to address criticism from activists that they are doing too little to combat climate change disinformation campaigns spreading rapidly on their massive networks. It also coincides with Elon Musk’s $43 billion hostile takeover bid for Twitter, and Musk’s interest in free speech that, according to The Washington Post, contradicts Twitter’s push toward more content moderation, including tweets about climate change.

Overall, I think it is a good thing that Twitter is going to crack down on ads that include misinformation about climate change. We all live on the same planet, after all. I cannot imagine anyone would want to be intentionally misled by ads from oil companies (as one example) who want to downplay how bad their company is about protecting the planet.

Twitter Board Adopts Limited Shareholder Rights Plan

Twitter logoFollowing Elon Musk’s offer to buy Twitter and make it a private company, Twitter’s Board of Directors enacted what has been referred to as a “poison pill”. It is my understanding that this decision is something the Board is allowed to do.

Axios reported that the “poison pill” is a corporate term that gives, in this case, Twitter’s existing shareholders time to purchase additional shares at a discount, thus diluting Elon Musk’s ownership stake. The move is designed to make it difficult for anyone, including Elon Musk, to build a stake worth more than 15% of the company.

PR Newswire posted a press release from Twitter’s Board of Directors. It is titled: “Twitter Adopts Limited Duration Shareholder Rights Plan, Enabling All Shareholders to Realize Full Value of Company”.

The wording the press release starts with includes: The Board adopted the Rights Plan following an unsolicited, non-binding proposal to acquire Twitter.

The Rights Plan is intended to enable all shareholders to realize the full value of their investment in Twitter. The Rights Plan will reduce the likelihood that any entity, person, or group gains control of Twitter through open market accumulation without paying all shareholders an appropriate control premium or without providing the Board sufficient time to make informed judgements and take actions that are in the best interests of shareholders.

CNBC reported that if any person or group acquires beneficial ownership of at least 15% of Twitter’s outstanding common stock without the board’s approval, other shareholders will be allowed to purchase additional shares at a discount. The move is a common way to fend off a potential hostile takeover by diluting the stake of the entity eying the takeover.

According to CNBC, if Elon Musk would have joined Twitter’s Board of Directors, he would not have been allowed to accumulate more than 14.9% of beneficial ownership of the company’s outstanding common stock.

The press release states that the Rights Plan does not prevent Twitter’s Board from engaging with parties or accepting an acquisition proposal if the Board believes that it is in the best interest of Twitter and its shareholders. To me, that wording makes it clear that Twitter’s Board does not consider Elon Musk’s offer to be beneficial.

Elon Musk Wants to Make Twitter Private

Twitter logoElon Musk has offered to take Twitter Inc. private in a deal valued at $43 billion, lambasting company management and saying he’s the person who can unlock the “extraordinary potential” of a communication platform used daily by more than 200 million people, Bloomberg reported.

According to Bloomberg, Elon Musk said he will pay $54.20 per share in cash, 38% above the price on April 1, the last trading day before Musk went public with his stake. Twitter’s company shares were “little changed” at $45.81 on Thursday, “a sign there’s skepticism that one of the platform’s most outspoken users will succeed in his takeover attempt.”

The Guardian reported that the $54.20 offer price includes the number 420, in what appears to be a reference to the number used as code for cannabis. The Guardian also noted that in 2018, when Elon Musk offered to take Tesla private he offered to buy the shares he did not already own for $420 a share.

I’m starting to wonder if Elon Musk sees this as a big joke. It is difficult to take someone seriously after they have used the number 420 in not one, but two, attempts to make a company private.

In a press release on PR Newswire, Twitter Inc. confirmed it has received an unsolicited, non-binding proposal from Elon Musk to acquire all of the Company’s outstanding common stock for $54.20 per share in cash. The press release also states: “The Twitter Board of Directors will carefully review the proposal to determine the course of action that it believes is in the best interests of the Company and all Twitter stockholders.”

To me, that sounds like corporate speak for, “We aren’t interested in this offer”.

This explains why I saw the word “Censorship” in the “What’s Happening” section of Twitter earlier today. It included a wide variety of tweets about censorship – from banned books to the idea of Twitter never blocking, labeling, or suspending accounts ever again.

Personally, I don’t think Twitter Inc. is going to accept Elon Musk’s offer. But if it does, and Elon Musk gets to make the changes he wants to make, there are other options for social media. I recommend Mastodon, especially if you take the time to find an instance that fits you.

Twitter Is Working On An Edit Button

Those who use Twitter, and who desperately want an edit button, might have that wish granted. While the addition of an edit button will likely bring some people joy, I can see ways where it can be manipulated to cause chaos.

The @TwitterComms account tweeted: “now that everyone is asking… yes, we’ve been working on an edit feature since last year! No, we didn’t get the idea from a poll [winking smile face emoji] we’re kicking off testing within @TwitterBlue Labs in the coming months to learn what works, what doesn’t, and what’s possible”.

The poll that was referenced is from Elon Musk’s Twitter account. He asked “Do you want an edit button?” The choices were “yse” (which got 73.6%) and “on” (which got 26.4%). I Should note that Elon Musk now owns a 9.2 percent stake in Twitter.

@TwitterComms also posted a GIF that starts with the Twitter blue bird and a smartphone that features Twitter and shows a window that includes the “Edit Tweet” option.

Twitter Blue is available in the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. It is available as an in-app purchase on Twitter for iOS and Android, or on twitter.com through Stripe.

TechCrunch reported: Twitter has shown a somewhat novel willingness to shape the platform based on user feedback, so it will be interesting to see what happens as the test begins. It’s easy to find strong opinions in favor of or vehemently against editing tweets, but much harder to know at scale most people really want.

Jay Sullivan @JaySullivan (Head of Consumer Product at Twitter) posted a thread about the Edit feature. I think the most significant part of it is the third tweet in the thread: @JaySullivan “3/ Without things like time limits, controls, and transparency about what has been edited, Edit could be misused to alter the record of the public conversation. Protecting the integrity of that public conversation is top priority when we approach this work.”

I can see why people want an Edit feature. Maybe their smartphone changed what they were typing in a way that makes their Tweet unintelligible or embarrassing. It might be useful if you tag the wrong account into a thread of tweets and want to replace it with the correct account.

My concern is that there will be people who tweet: “Click like if you love kittens!” They add a photo of an adorable pile of kittens. This is likely to get a lot of likes. Later, that person could swap out the word “kittens” with the word “guns” and change the photo to match the deliberately manipulated tweet. Hopefully, Twitter will put in place the time limits, controls, and transparency about edited tweets that Jay Sullivan mentioned. Twitter is chaotic at times, and a deceptive Edit will only add to the chaos.

Russia Blocked Facebook and Twitter

Both Facebook and Twitter were blocked by Russia on Friday, amid President Vladimir Putin’s ongoing military invasion of Ukraine, BuzzFeed News reported.

According to BuzzFeed News, Roskomnadzor, Russia’s communications regulator, posted a statement on Friday, explaining the decision was made to “block access to the Facebook network” after at least 26 cases of “discrimination against Russian media and information resources” since October of 2020. More specifically, the agency highlighted Facebook’s recent restriction of Kremlin-tied media sources RT and Sputnik across the EU.

Reuters reported that Meta Platforms (parent company of Facebook) would restrict access to Russian state media outlets RT and Sputnik on its platforms across the European Union. According to Reuters, the company received requests from a number of governments and the EU to take steps in relation to Russian state-controlled media on its platforms.

In addition, Reuters reported that the European Union said it would ban Russian state-owned television network RT and news agency Sputnik. Canada telecoms operators have also stopped offering the RT channel.

Interfax, (Interfax Information Services Group) reported that Roskomnadzor blocked Twitter in Russian territory. According to Interfax, Twitter is restricted across Russia based on the Prosecutor General’s Office demand dated February 24.

NetBlocks a global monitor working at the section of digital rights, cybersecurity and internet governance, confirmed the restriction of Twitter in Russia from the morning of February 26, 2022. It also reported that Facebook servers had been subsequently restricted on Sunday.

According to NetBlocks, the restrictions are in effect across multiple providers rendering both social media platforms largely unusable, and come as Russian authorities and social media platforms clash over rules in relation to the invasion of Ukraine.

It seems to me that people who have friends and relatives in Russia are unlikely to see them post anything on Facebook or Twitter for a while. This news also makes it very clear how important social media is for various governments. It appears that Russia’s decision to block Facebook and Twitter could be an effort to prevent its people from learning about what is happening in Ukraine.

Twitter Wants to Make Harassment Easier

Twitter is exploring a new way to send DMs on iOS, and it involves letting users slide into your inbox through a link on your tweets, bypassing the DM button on your profile, The Verge reported. According to The Verge, Twitter says this will make it easier to “start a conversation” from your timeline. I think it is obvious how this can end up going very badly.

On February 3, 2021, @TwitterSupport tweeted: “For when you want to reply directly to a Tweet’s author, we’re making it easier to DM them from your timeline to start a conversation.”

Right now, if you want to send someone a DM on Twitter, you need to click to the person’s profile and click the envelope icon. That will open up a Message to that person. You will see it along with whatever other messages you have. Next, you need to type something into the box that appears and send the DM.

Based on nothing more than the tweet from @TwitterSupport, it appears that the ability to send a DM right from your timeline allows a person to bypass the usual way DMs are sent. Sending a DM will become a “one-click” situation.

That’s a terrible idea for many reasons. It would give people who are bullies a super fast way to send a mean DM to a stranger. This could result in people logging-in to Twitter to a slew DMs with hateful content from people they have never interacted with. I wish Twitter would have taken the time to consider the harm a feature like this could cause to people who already receive hate on Twitter because of their gender or race.

A spokesperson from Twitter sent The Verge a statement. “This particular experiment is not changing the current settings of anyone’s DMs”, Twitter spokesperson Charlotte Catania said. “We’re always exploring ways to make DMs more accessible and valuable for people on Twitter, and they will remain in control: anyone has the ability to close their DMs in their settings.”

The new DM feature will be rolled out as a test on iOS. If you use Twitter through Android, or the desktop, you won’t be able to test it out just yet. In the meantime, you might want to go into your Settings, find the Direct Messages section, and prevent random strangers from sending you questionable, and unwanted, DMs.