OPINION - What would you do with $44bn? Elon Musk bought Twitter

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 (West End Final)
(West End Final)

We let him send astronauts into space and happily drive his cars, but can we trust Elon Musk with our tweets?

The world’s richest person has struck a deal to buy Twitter for $44 billion, instantly turning him into a global media mogul. In announcing the move, Musk tweeted that “Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy,” and urged his “worst critics” to remain on the platform.

Musk has big plans for Twitter, but can he solve its problems? From disinformation to edit buttons and the return of Donald Trump, Barney Davis examines four challenges facing the new Twitter owner.

But hang on, he may be very rich but can Musk just dip into his pocket and find $44 billion? Not really. Bloomberg estimates he ‘only’ has $3 billion of cash on hand, the rest being tied up in stocks.

City Editor Oscar Williams-Grut explains how it all works, who is paying for what, and how it’ll impact his other businesses. If nothing else, Musk’s Twitter gambit shines a light on the finances of the world’s wealthiest person.

Then there are other pressing questions such as who will run the company for him, and will that person be former CEO Jack Dorsey? Oscar doesn’t rule it out. For the wide-angle lens, Matthew d’Ancona asks whether Elon Musk is the liberator of the free world or just a hyper-wealthy troll?

I thought this was a heck of a statement from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), particularly given that Musk is a major donor. Having said that, where else to end this section but the reaction of Twitter users themselves? Celebrities, politicians, faceless avatars – everyone has a view.

Elsewhere in the paper, plans for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee are taking shape, with Ed Sheeran headlining a ‘People’s Pageant’, the culmination of a four-day, 800 event extravaganza.

The Pageant will have a cast of 10,000 made up of more than 6,000 volunteers, 2,750 military personnel, key workers and 2,500 members of the general public, as well as the performers. And Basil Brush.

Rishi Sunak is even considering making the new bank holiday permanent to honour the Queen.

In the comment pages, slumped in his chair, his left leg and foot twitching constantly, his face betraying a slight palsy. Defence Editor Robert Fox says that Vladimir Putin’s ill-health is now impossible to ignore.

And finally, Uber is launching a travel service for pets in London. Disappointingly, I first read this as a pets-only service, whereas it is in fact a special surcharge for those travelling with their cats or dogs.

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