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What Elon Musk has tweeted for years… on Twitter

(CNN) –– For years, Elon Musk has used Twitter to publicly share his views on the social media platform he will now buy in a multimillion-dollar deal.

After a few dizzying weeks of quite public back-and-forth between Musk and Twitter, the company said on Monday it had accepted a takeover offer from the world’s richest man in a roughly $44 billion deal that will take it private.

The deal, expected to close this year, puts the spotlight back on the billionaire’s ever-evolving and sometimes erratic views on Twitter over the years. Many of which he has shared on the platform itself.

Elon Musk in 2001: I’m a little tired of the internet 3:26

Musk has tweeted specifically about Twitter dozens of times over the past decade. Which reveals a dizzying relationship marked by posts ranging from “i love twitter” until “Is Twitter dying?“.

During his nearly 13 years on the platform, Twitter has become an important part of Elon Musk’s personal brand. It’s the place where he connects with his 80+ million followers to talk about his business ventures, lash out at those he sees as naysayers, comment on market-shaking cryptocurrencies, and share a meme from time to time. .

To describe his relationship with Twitter on his own terms, Musk tweeted as a joke in 2019: “Some people use their hair to express themselves, I use Twitter.”

Musk’s bid to buy Twitter notably came after he turned down a seat on the company’s board of directors. A decision that some corporate governance experts speculated could be because the position came in the hope that Musk would stop tweeting criticism of the platform.

However, trying to get Musk to stop tweeting about companies is almost a prologue to how he ended up looking to buy Twitter. The billionaire’s tweets about Tesla have put him in trouble, several times, with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. (SEC, for its acronym in English). In fact, his years-long feud with this agency can be traced back to his now-infamous 2018 tweet that read: “I’m considering taking Tesla private for $420. Financing secured.”

The changes that Elon Musk would implement on Twitter 0:35

The brief tweet led Tesla shares to surge at the time, but the SEC later accused him of misleading investors. Ultimately, Musk and regulators reached a deal that included, among other provisions, a requirement that the billionaire get prior approval from other Tesla executives before tweeting about the company. Musk has apparently weighed in on what he sees as attacks on “free speech” ever since.

The saga continued earlier this year when Tesla revealed that it had received a subpoena from the SEC after Musk asked his Twitter followers last year if he should sell his 10% stake in the company. In March, in response to Musk challenging the subpoena in part by citing First Amendment rights, an SEC regulator urged a federal judge to allow further scrutiny of his tweets.

A few days later, on March 26, Musk tweeted that he was “seriously thinking” about creating his own social media platform. And in that line he argued that Twitter does not defend the principles of freedom of expression. About a week after that, Musk bought a more than 9% stake in Twitter. Thus he became the largest shareholder of the technological giant. Shortly thereafter, on Monday, Twitter said it had accepted Musk’s purchase offer.

“Twitter’s board undertook a thoughtful and comprehensive process to evaluate Elon’s (Musk) proposal with a deliberate focus on value, certainty and funding,” said the company’s independent board chairman Bret Taylor. , in a statement revealing the news. And he described the deal as “the best way forward for Twitter shareholders.”

Musk, meanwhile, reinforced his position as a champion of “free speech.”

Twitter agrees to accept Elon Musk buyout offer 2:16

“Freedom of expression is the foundation of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital public square where issues vital to the future of humanity are debated,” Musk said in a statement Monday. “Twitter has enormous potential. I look forward to working with the company and the user community to unlock it,” he added.

One of the first tweets Musk posted specifically about Twitter was in 2017 and read simply: “i love twitterThe post received a response from then-CEO Jack Dorsey saying “same,” as well as a response from a user suggesting he should buy it. “How much does it cost?” Musk replied at the time, years before he formally introduced your offer for the company.

Fast-forward to 2020, Musk already at that point started talking about trolls and bots on the platform that “negatively affect public discourse“. He also complained that “the level of cryptocurrency scam on Twitter is reaching new levels“.

This year, Musk’s tweets on Twitter changed markedly to start broadcasting more specific complaints about how the platform works. He attacked the company for “wasting engineering resources” on creating nft profile picturesinstead of fighting spam accounts. He also criticized Twitter’s algorithm several times, calling for it to be open sourced. Which means that it is publicly available for anyone to view, modify, and use for other purposes.

More recently, Musk suggested that the stakes are high for the platform to bolster free speech. “Since Twitter serves as the de facto public square, failing to adhere to the principles of free speech fundamentally undermines democracy,” tweeted last month.

And in his last tweet before news broke that Twitter accepted his takeover bid, Musk continued his refrain. “I hope even my worst critics stay on Twitter, because that’s what free speech means.” wrote on Monday morning.

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