New Twitter owner Elon Musk becomes the ultimate media power broker

Elon Musk is buying Twitter for $44bn (with a third of the money coming from banks) but it’s far from clear how he’s going to get the money back. But maybe that’s not the point.

Very rich people (Musk is currently reckoned the world’s richest through his stake in Tesla) are unfailingly attracted to media and Twitter has 300 million users. Crucially, for Musk and his backers, they include pretty well every government and politician on earth.

One non-user, of course, is Donald Trump who’s currently banned. If Musk allows him back in he, arguably, becomes the most powerful media power broker in the US if Trump runs for election again.

Musk has said he disagrees with Twitters ad-based model which, presumably, means he’s eyeing subscriptions. Many Twitter users will find this unpalatable although not governments, politicians and corporates who find it a cheap and effective way of communicating instantly. When Vladimir Putin declares world War III he’ll probably do it on Twitter.

Musk is promising to take the brakes off Twitter in the interests of freedom of speech. This will mean more spats with regulators but Musk loves a fight. Whatever happens, it’s time too fasten seatbelts because it’s sure to be a bumpy ride.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.