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2017 Exchange Could Have Sparked Elon Musk's Interest In Buying Twitter

Tom Wood

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2017 Exchange Could Have Sparked Elon Musk's Interest In Buying Twitter

An innocent exchange on Twitter five years ago could have set in motion one of the biggest and most significant transactions in history, leading Elon Musk to drop around $44 billion buying Twitter.

We’re all familiar with the concept of the butterfly effect, right?

In case you’ve never seen the dreadful pseudo-intellectual 2004 film with Ashton Kutcher, the basic idea is that something very small event somewhere can eventually have larger and more telling effects elsewhere.

In this case, we don’t have to look too far away from the large effect, just head quite a long way back... All the way back to December 21 2017, to be precise.

On that fateful day, a relatively unheralded billionaire and electric car salesman called Elon Musk decided to use his 140 character limit to share how much he loved the social media platform Twitter.

Here's the exchange that could have started it all. Credit: Twitter
Here's the exchange that could have started it all. Credit: Twitter

A man of uncomplicated words – at the time at least – he simply said: “I love Twitter”.

Then, adding to this seemingly unremarkable exchange, a journalist from Insider called Dave Smith responded: “You should buy it then”.

Given that this is a realistic prospect for Musk – as we’ve since discovered – he came back to ask Smith: “How much is it?”

It now seems as if this small conversation online in 2017 could have sparked the tiny flame that grew into the inferno of yesterday’s transaction.

In fact, Smith revisited the exchange yesterday, tweeting: “This exchange continues to haunt me”.

Careful now, that sort of talk could get a person banned from Twitter these days, right?

Not exactly, it seems.

Musk’s motivation for the Twitter purchase – other than heaps of cash, presumably – is that he wants to privatise it because of his belief that it can be better as a free speech platform.

In a joint statement, both Musk and Twitter said they want the platform to be ‘better than ever’ with a number of new additions and features, as well as improving algorithms to improve trust and getting rid of ‘spam’ accounts.

Musk said: "Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated."

Musk says he wants to improve Twitter as a free speech platform. Credit: Alamy
Musk says he wants to improve Twitter as a free speech platform. Credit: Alamy

With that sort of assessment, it’s hard to believe that he’s ever been on Twitter, let alone researched enough to buy the whole damn thing.

Joking aside though, Musk does actually love Twitter.

In fact, he’s got nearly 84 million followers and tweets pretty much his every thought. Well, not his every thought.

He’s been banned from tweeting about Tesla affairs by the SEC (US Securities and Exchange Commission) because of the effects his musings have on the share price.

He was also once sued for defamation after tweeting to call a cave diver ‘pedo guy’ although the cave diver subsequently lost that case.

Featured Image Credit: Business Insider/Alamy

Topics: Elon Musk, Money, Social Media, Twitter, World News

Tom Wood
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