Written by Jessica Maddox, University of Alabama


On April 25, 2022, Twitter’s board of directors accepted Elon Musk’s US$44 billion hostile takeover bid. Twitter’s statement announcing the deal included comments from the Tesla and SpaceX CEO:

“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. 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.”

The problem with Musk’s statement is that it fundamentally misunderstands speech, algorithms and bots and human authentication. As a researcher who studies social media, I believe that if anything is cause for concern about this transaction, it is this misunderstanding.