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‘Terrified’: Musk Twitter buyout bid rattles tech world

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Elon Musk’s shock offer to buy Twitter drew immediate fears – and some cheers – over putting the platform in the hands of a mercurial billionaire who advocates fewer limits on what people can post.

Tech watchers reacted to the Tesla chief’s proposal for one of the world’s most influential information exchanges with immediate worries about accountability, public discourse and even how it could impact democracy.

“Twitter is too important to be owned and controlled by a single person,” tweeted venture capitalist Fred Wilson. “The opposite should be happening. Twitter should be decentralised.”

However, the USD43 billion pitch faces uncertainty on several fronts, including potential board or shareholder resistance, as well as lack of information on how Musk would actually fund the all-cash offer.

Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has already come out against the proposal, saying it’s too low.

Still, Musk provided some detail on his vision, saying he’d like to lift the veil on the algorithm that runs on the platform, even allowing people to look through it and suggest changes.

A phone screen displays Elon Musk’s Twitter account, with a photo of him shown in the background. PHOTO: AFP