Elon Musk set the internet ablaze Monday when he gained ownership of Twitter for $44 billion. The saga began little over a week ago, when Musk bought a 9.2% stake in the social media giant and offered to buy it for $43 billion shortly after. The hostile takeover bid raised questions about what could happen if Twitter’s board accepted or declined, and what it would look like if the Tesla and SpaceX CEO took the company private.
Monday’s afternoon’s announcement answered some of those questions and raised others as people took to Twitter (where else?) to share their reactions to the news.
Hashtags like #RIPTwitter, #twittersold and #GoodbyeTwitter surged as users from Hollywood and beyons lamented the purchase of one of the world’s largest social media platforms to the world’s richest man.
“Well it’s been fun and time consuming, twitter. Rip,” wrote “Glee” actor Kevin McHale. Author and television writer Kashana Cauley weighed in with another eulogy: “RIP black Twitter (2008- the day it was purchased by an apartheid houseplant)”.
Former six-term Vermont governor Howard Dean was one of many who announced his intention to quit the platform should Musk take over, writing, “Many thanks for the knowledge and sharing over the past ten years or so. If Musk takes over Twitter I will be off within a few hours.”
Director Rob Reiner and professor and political advisor Robert Reich speculated about the sociopolitical ramifications of Musk’s ownership. The former asked if this means former president Donald Trump will be restored to the platform after he was permanently booted off in the wake of the Jan. 6 insurrection – a move that drew the ire of several conservatives. Musk has been an outspoken critic of the platform for its content moderation policies, arguing that it “undermines democracy.”
Trump stated that he won’t be returning to the platform if he is welcomed back and will be sticking to his fledgling platform Truth Social. Per the The Washington Post, his advisers believe he will be back on Twitter if the ban is lifted.
Twitter was also flooded with overjoyed reactions from conservatives who hailed Musk’s takeover as the return of free speech. Prominent pundits including Tomi Lahren celebrated the arrival of “the day of reckoning for Twitter.”
Right-wing politicians like representatives Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene brought up the theory that Twitter engages in “shadow banning,” or deliberately hiding certain users’ content without their knowledge. (In response to these accusations, Twitter has stated multiple times that it does not shadow ban.) Rep. Taylor Greene’s account was permanently suspended earlier this year for spreading misinformation about COVID.
Elsewhere on Twitter, opponents to the takeover argued that the best course of action is to remain on the platform. “No matter who owns it, no matter who’s on it, I’m staying to engage with you, listen to diverse opinions & to keep fighting the good fight!” tweeted Mark Hamill.
Others who do not support the change in ownership urged those with similar views to stay positive or else made light of the situation.
“I stop scrolling, look up from my phone, and out the window. I see a complicated but beautiful world. It’s still going to be there no matter who owns Twitter,” wrote Dan Rather. “And we’ll continue to find ways to live in it, talk about it, and share with each other our thoughts, fears, and dreams.”
March For Our Lives activist David Hogg proposed that Twitter employees take the sale as an opportunity to unionize.
Despite all the hysteria, BuzzFeed tech reporter Katie Notopoulos pointed out that even Musk’s detractors probably aren’t going anywhere: “If you are still on Twitter in April 2022, do not try to pretend you don’t love to eat s— all day.”
Read below for more reactions.