Elon Musk sits outside, staring blankly into the distance, wearing a shirt reading "occupy mars"

Why Did Elon Musk Want To Buy Twitter in the First Place?

As Elon Musk crashes right up into his (Friday at 5pm Eastern time) deadline to close his deal to buy Twitter, he’s issued yet another version of his reasons for pushing the deal to begin with.

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Previously, Musk has said that he launched his hostile takeover of the company in order to purge bots from the site. No one actually believed that was the reason, though. What seemed much more likely was that he chose to use the issue of bots as a way to get out of the deal after Twitter released a report stating bots only make up about 5% of accounts on the site—something Musk would have known if he’d done any sort of due diligence before trying to buy the company.

Musk has also stated that privatizing Twitter is the only way to allow it to adhere to his own personal ideals of “free speech”—which he describes as being speech that is allowed by the (presumably federal U.S) government. (Except, of course, for other forms of legal speech that he just personally doesn’t like.)

Now, in an open memo to advertisers, Musk has expanded on his motivations, saying he wants to develop a “common digital town square.” That doesn’t make much sense, though, because that’s what Twitter already is. The only meaningful change Musk is likely to enact is to flood that town square with bigots.

Still, sounding as much like an alien robot as he possibly can, Musk insists the reason he bought Twitter was “to try to help humanity, whom I love.”

Why did Elon Musk actually buy Twitter?

Look, we can’t know for sure, but it sure seems like the real driving force behind Musk’s desire to buy Twitter was straight-up transphobia.

Musk’s version of “free speech” involves letting a lot of bigots back on Twitter, from Donald Trump an Tucker Carlson to white supremacist randos everywhere. But if he really was responding specifically to the banning of the extremely unfunny right-wing attempt at satire The Babylon Bee—which came after the publication misgendered a public offical and continues because they’ve proudly refused to delete their tweet—that’s extremely worrisome.

How much did Elon Musk buy Twitter for?

Musk offered/demanded to buy Twitter in April of this year for $54.20 per share, for a total of $44 billion. That’s a hell of a lot of money to spend just to give your friends the ability to insult and harass trans people on the internet.

(image: Michael Gonzalez/Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.