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Gauging the Media's Reaction to Musk's Twitter Deal

April 27, 2022Evan Robert

The "will he, won't he" is over. Elon Musk bought Twitter for $44 billion on Monday. Unsurprisingly, major media outlets have quite a lot to say about Twitter's change in ownership, as most of the companies have significant presence on the platform.

EdgeTheory's Kudzu brief gives AI-driven insight into the media's response, tracking who is saying what, and how the narrative is being shaped by news media.

Keywords by number of sources

Among top keywords were "free speech" and "town square" which are echoes of Musk's statement that he sees Twitter as the world's de facto town square, and that the right of free speech should be upheld there. "Donald Trump" was the third highest keyword associated with Musk's deal. With his promise to enforce free speech, media clearly has become concerned with the Trump's potential return to Twitter, a move that will undoubtedly spark even more controversy than Musk buying the platform in the first place.

Many outlets are also focusing on how Musk will manage the content posted on Twitter, with terms appearing like "hate speech," "harassment and misinformation," and "content moderation." An emphasis on free speech has many in news media wondering about how loose the content moderation system will be under Musk.

In terms of actual changes made to Twitter, the most concrete policy announced by Musk seems to be the elimination of spam bots, which have been a scourge on the platform for years. This, coupled with his teaser of the addition of an edit button, seem to be the most foreseeable first changes under Musk as an owner.

Narrative dynamics of Musk & Twitter

The announcement of Musk's deal led some users to leave the platform, while the promise of free speech has seen a piqued interest among those, namely conservative, who had long abandoned Twitter due to the perception of strict content moderation.

Only time will tell whether Twitter will thrive or languish under Musk. Regardless, this is a topic that can't help but make headlines every week. This brief on the media's coverage of Musk and Twitter will update automatically as the narratives continue to take shape.

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