Who is Elon Musk? How much did he buy Twitter for? And what does the deal mean for Yorkshire Twitter users?

Controversial billionaire Elon Musk made headlines this week when he bought social media platform Twitter for a staggering $44 billion.

His promise to relax free speech restrictions on the platform sparked concerns from human rights groups and prominent figures that the new era of Twitter could be characterised by bullying and misinformation.

Who is Elon Musk?

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With an estimated net worth of $250bn, Musk is an entrepreneur and business mogel who counts companies including Tesla and SpaceX among his portfolio.

The South African billionaire hits headlines for more than just his business dealings thanks to his headline-grabbing dating life.

He has two children with musician Grimes and dated actor Amber Heard shortly after her 2016 divorce from Johnny Depp.

In the past he has also been known for his Twitter outbursts

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How did Elon Musk become so wealthy?

Elon bought and sold PayPal to eBay for $1.5bn after dropping out of university.

He then put his money into SpaceX an alternative to NASA and Tesla. He became Chief Executive of Tesla in 2008.

His wealth is largely down to his 17% shares in Tesla although when it was announced he was buying Twitter, Tesla’s valuation dropped by $126bn in one day.

What will Elon Musk do with Twitter?

The future of the platform is uncertain but there have been debates what it will mean politically with many right-wing politicians in the US pleased with the move.

Elon Musk has described himself as a “free speech absolutist.” Whether this means he will revoke previously banned accounts such as Donald Trump or not remains unknown, but there have been hints that he may remove some of the content policies.

This is what Twitter had to say about the move

‘If his interpretation of free speech means allowing hate speech then it'll become another outlet for Nazis like parler or telegram. Considering he could end world hunger for a fraction of what he's paid, he can hardly claim to be working for the common good,’ tweeted @DJLazarus.

But @DebbieLough thinks that it's still too early to say.

Although she warns: ‘if hate speech and threats and bullying go unaddressed, he may find it becomes as valuable as an NFT in pretty short order.’

NFTs are non-fungible tokens are digital assets which can be bought and sold as part of blockchain. Elon Musk actually owns three cryptocurrencies and regularly tweets about crypto.

Read More: https://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/lifestyle/money/what-is-cryptocurrency-bitcoin-blockchain-leeds-miner-explains-3667991

@Yorkshire_Free however thinks that more media companies need full transparency. ‘We haven't known who fully controls or influences Twitter up to now, seems strange that people have such a negative reaction when we have a name and face.’

Whereas @JasonHolyhead ‘couldn’t care less who owns it as long as its free, has an edit button and trolls and bullies are banned.’

Rachel Dove also hopes that it does not lead to even more misinformation and ad targeting.

She said: ‘Twitter can be toxic, but also great for the reading/book community. ‘Hoping this won’t change things for the worse. Many will just leave Twitter, which is sad.’

Lisa Bourne added that she’s ‘Worried for sure. Will probably leave it!’

While some people are on the fence.

Kamila Zielinska said that she’s ‘intrigued to see what opportunities he might create for businesses and content creators, especially with his interests in making the algorithm more transparent.

‘As a consumer, I'm concerned about the political space on Twitter. I get a lot of my news and understanding of various opinions on Twitter and I'm afraid of what his influence will do. Social Media is already becoming an extremely difficult environment and the data and influence that Twitter possesses will allow him to hold so much power.’

@momof2lgs is also excited to see what he does with it from an innovation perspective.

But she’s concerned about him interfering in free speech.

She tweeted: ‘He has a history of removing obstacles that might differ from his own opinion.’

@lukesamsowden is optimistic however about how he may make Twitter more accessible.

‘Especially as he’s been know to sympathise with the Blind and Disabled community, but honestly I think everyone is worrying over nothing.’

Others also hope that he will bring a positive change to the platform.

‘I'm hoping that he does something radical, and exciting, with Twitter!’ Tweeted @clairelyoung

@MRAJPalmer tweeted: ‘Twitter was running out of ideas for how to make it sustainable or even grow, even to the point that they were finally considering and edit button! Now it will have fresh vision and impetus.’

But @BoneIdolFitness wants the edit button and hopes Elon takes twitter back to the good old days.

‘I hope it goes back to the chaotic days of when I first joined twitter’