When Tesla chief executive Elon Musk bought Twitter for $44 billion back in October, the deal was thought to be a massive overpay, and Musk himself admitted as much at the time. But since then, the billionaire’s financial position on the company has only grown worse, according to a Fidelity valuation Tuesday, which found Twitter to be worth just one third of what Musk originally paid for it. While it is unclear how Fidelity—which recently marked down the value of its stake in the company—arrived at that figure, Musk shared similar concerns in March, telling employees that Twitter was worth less than half of what he fronted.
This stunning decline can no doubt be traced to the big and erratic changes Musk has made to Twitter’s revenue plans, workforce, and core functions. His current growth strategy appears to involve throwing out a slew of ideas and waiting for something to stick: For one, he wants Twitter to compete with companies like CashApp by incorporating a digital banking and payment processor within the platform. He also seems to have a grand vision of transforming the platform into a video juggernaut, enticing popular right-wing media personalities to stream their content directly on Twitter in the hopes of rivaling TV news and YouTube. Musk even attempted to wade into the upcoming Republican presidential primary by helping Ron DeSantis use the platform to unveil his 2024 campaign bid last week. (The announcement was plagued by “melting” servers and incessant audio glitches.)
In short, Musk wants Twitter to be everything for everyone, even as its core features—ones that allow users to post and read short bursts of text and consume real-time information—grow more dysfunctional by the day.
Where he has succeeded, though, is in turning Twitter into a hot spot for the far right. A new report from the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) found that subscribers to Twitter Blue—a service that allows any user to buy a verification badge, marking another one of Musk’s harebrained revenue schemes—can largely post racist, antisemitic, homophobic, and white supremacist content with impunity. [Continue reading…]