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Twitter is expected to accept Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk's purchase offer (Photo: via Associated Press)
Twitter is reportedly on the cusp of accepting Elon Musk’s purchase offer – and it’s safe to say most of the users on the platform have some thoughts.
Musk, the richest man in the world, already owns Tesla, an electric car company, and rocket manufacturer SpaceX, which plans to go to Mars. He’s also an enthusiast for cryptocurrency, known for championing bitcoin and dogecoin.
The entrepreneur identifies himself a “free speech absolutist”, so his offer to buy the social media platform for $43 billion (£33.8 billion) has sent alarm bells ringing as people fear the volatile website might get even more divisive with his takeover.
As of January this year, the platform has an audience reach of 76.9 million users all around the world.
Musk bought a 9.2% stake in Twitter earlier this month and then briefly entertained the idea of joining its board, but he changed his mind days later for unspecified reasons.
The billionaire has been especially critical of Twitter over recent months even though he owes part of his celebrity status to the platform as he has more than 80 million followers.
Musk has previously said that he does not believe the platform is living up to the principles of free speech, a message also pushed by former US president Donald Trump who was banned from Twitter last year.
Trump is just one of several names, often on the far-right, who has been suspended for breaching Twitter’s content rules around violence, hate or harmful misinformation.
Controversially, Musk has already indicated that he might prefer time-out bans rather than permanent suspensions for people who break Twitter’s rules.
In his offer letter, the billionaire explained: “I think free speech is a societal imperative for a functioning democracy.”
However, he added: “Since making my investment I now realise the company will neither thrive nor serve this societal imperative in its current form.”
Musk also said if his “best and final offer” was not accepted he would “reconsider my position as a shareholder”.
Reports from Reuters and the Wall Street Journal suggest Twitter is close to accepting Musk’s offer – which works out to $54.20 (£42.56) per share in cash – and the entrepreneur could even take the reins as soon as Monday afternoon.
Here’s how a few of Twitter’s users reacted.
Naturally, people had a lot of questions...
Why the hell would Twitter board agree to Musk buying and destroying what they built?
— Pam Keith, Esq. (@PamKeithFL) April 25, 2022
There were calls for a mass return to Tumblr...
Anything for a dollar I guess!!!! Tumblr this is your chance to come back! https://t.co/OKj4M38Uzi
— Meech (@MediumSizeMeech) April 25, 2022
Tumblr? Are we all heading back to Tumblr? https://t.co/BfkyAzRhkm
— Akilah Hughes (@AkilahObviously) April 25, 2022
Then there were the inevitable sceptics who dismissed the idea anyone would leave Twitter...
To everyone saying they’ll leave Twitter if Elon Musk owns it, I’m 98.9% certain you won’t. Bearing in mind that not posting for a week or two doesn’t really count as ‘leaving’.
— Jonathan Pie (@JonathanPieNews) April 25, 2022
"I'm leaving Twitter as soon as Musk takes over" is the 2022 version of "I'm moving to Canada if Trump wins."
— Natalie F Danelishen (@Chesschick01) April 25, 2022
Some users vowed to stay on so they could fight disinformation...
This hell site is a front line in the war on disinformation. I understand why folks would deactivate in response to Musk's reported purchase of Twitter, but there's a need here for rational adults to push back against the vile and relentless propaganda. It's worth the fight.
— Charlotte Clymer 🏳️⚧️🇺🇦 (@cmclymer) April 25, 2022
I will absolutely stay on Twitter — even if Elon Musk buys it.
Raise your hand if you agree it will be even MORE important for progressive voices to be on Twitter! ✋
— Jon Cooper (@joncoopertweets) April 25, 2022
If @elonmusk eventually buys Twitter, the best way to say fuck you to his propaganda is to stay on and dispeove misinformation and call out the bullying, hatred, racism, and bigotry. We stay on and fight back.
— David Weissman (@davidmweissman) April 25, 2022
Others seemed completely downbeat at the thought of the takeover...
Twitter is far too important to be in private ownership.
And ever more so to be in the hands of the world's richest man.
In an imaginary world, the platform would be owned by a not-for-profit international organisation.
It wouldn't be a commercial business.#Twitter#Musk
— Aidan Regan (@Aidan_Regan) April 25, 2022
The reactions to the news of Musk buying Twitter seem to break down by
whether you understand that this is a platform where serious harassment happens, especially of marginalized people,
or whether you don’t understand this.
Y’all are showing yourselves.
— Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg (@TheRaDR) April 25, 2022
But some people felt the exact opposite...
Kinda hoping Elon Musk does destroy Twitter so I can have my life back.
— Eliot Higgins (@EliotHiggins) April 25, 2022
It would kinda dope if Musk bought Twitter and just shut it off…. Lol
— ICE T (@FINALLEVEL) April 25, 2022
— Hemant (@Sportscasmm) April 25, 2022
And then there was plenty of speculation about just what Musk might do with the platform...
Excited about changes Elon Musk will bring to twitter (adding a “call this rescue worker a paedophile” button)
— James Felton (@JimMFelton) April 25, 2022
If Elon Musk buys Twitter, will I still be allowed to say fuck Elon Musk?
— The USA Singers (@TheUSASingers) April 25, 2022
Donald Trump making his way back to Twitter when Elon Musk becomes the owner.pic.twitter.com/9jQWODFeEf
— El Don 🇳🇦 (@el_dme_363) April 25, 2022
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.