Elon Musk Buys Twitter, Causing Worry for the Influential Platform’s Future

Flynn LeFebvre, Contributing Writer

On April 14th, 2022, Elon Musk began the process of buying Twitter. This process would continue until October 7th, 2022, after an attempt by Musk to back out of the deal. Immediately after his purchase, he fired the board of directors and caused a massive portion of the user base to question their future on the platform.

Elon Musk has eliminated about 3,700 jobs at Twitter Inc., around half of the social media company’s workforce, in a bid to drive down costs following his $44 billion acquisition.

Many CRLS students echoed this, expressing a negative opinion of Musk and his purchase of Twitter. In a recent poll, students were asked about their use of the platform and opinions on Musk. 55 students responded. In the poll, 43.63 percent of students rated their opinion of Elon Musk as lower than 5/10. Senior Nicolas Valayannopoulos-Akrivou expressed to the Register Forum what seems to be the most commonly held opinion.  Valayannopoulos-Akrivou doesn’t particularly like Elon Musk, as “[He] gives off a fake perception of hard-earned success which covers up the privilege and backing he has received,” continuing that , “Most people around me aren’t particularly excited about Elon Musk’s takeover.”

According to a Pew Research poll, only 23% of teens said they use Twitter. However, many students have strong opinions on the platform whether or not they use it. 32% said they didn’t use the platform as it is too toxic, and 20.9% said it was harmful to society.

The Network Contagion Research Institute (NCRI), a group that analyzes hundreds of millions of messages across social media, said use of the N-word on the app spiked nearly 500 percent over the 12 hours after Musk’s deal was finalized. Alexarie Fernandez ’23 tells the Register Forum, “I think it [the Nword] is derogatory no matter who is using it, and there are people using it who really shouldn’t be. There are young people on Twitter who are seeing this and thinking it’s acceptable when it’s really not.” 

100% of surveyed transgender students at CRLS rated Musk a 1/10 and expressed concern about Musk’s intent to review the site’s hateful content policy, but their use of Twitter varied from multiple times a day to never. 

Elon Musk has eliminated about 3,700 jobs at Twitter Inc., around half of the social media company’s workforce, in a bid to drive down costs following his $44 billion acquisition. Fernandez also said they were not sure how to feel about Musk’s mass firing of employees. She said “My thought process is it’s an influential platform that gives people jobs, and if they take away that platform, less people get paid.” But she also stated she had seen Twitter be used to spread hate, and disliked Elon Musk.

Not all students dislike Elon Musk or even know who he is. The most common rating he got in the poll was 5/10, with 28.6% rating him as such.  In addition, 17.9 percent rated him as 6/10 or above. While few rated Musk positively, some expressed that they did not know that much about him, including nine survey respondents.

Mohammad Jihad, a junior, was one of a small number of people to express a positive opinion on Musk. He said, “I think he has contributed a lot to electric cars and reusable rockets,” but also stated that he had heard vastly different opinions from those around him. One of the few who agreed with him was Naveen Tuyo, a freshman, who spoke about recent changes to Twitter’s content moderation policy. He said “Twitter is already pretty bad, along with social media, and this won’t help. I do think free speech is important, but to be honest, cutting out social media as a whole would be a more economical decision. At least Twitter tries.” He also said, “I like Elon Musk, for sure. He’s pioneering electric cars with Tesla, which are fantastic, creating spaceships with SpaceX, and more… He’s creating the future.”