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Elon Musk Proposes Twitter Takeover at Agreed Price; Calls Deal ‘Accelerant’ to Creating ‘X’ App

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Elon Musk is proposing to proceed with his original $44 billion (roughly Rs. 3,58,300 crore) bid to take Twitter private, security filings showed on Tuesday, calling for an end to a lawsuit by the social media company that could have forced him to pay up, whether he wanted to or not. An agreement would put the world’s richest person in charge of one of the most influential media platforms and end months of litigation that damaged Twitter’s brand and fed Musk’s reputation for erratic behavior.

Musk, the chief executive of electric car maker Tesla, will take over a company he originally committed to buying in April, but soon soured on. Late on Tuesday he tweeted that buying Twitter would speed up his ambition to create an “everything app” called X.

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Elon Musk vs Twitter

Photo Credit: Reuters

The renewed offer comes ahead of a highly anticipated face-off between Musk and Twitter in Delaware’s Court of Chancery on October 17, in which the social media company was set to seek an order directing Musk to close the deal for $44 billion (roughly Rs. 3,58,300 crore).

Musk sent Twitter a letter on Monday that said he intended to proceed with the deal on the original terms if the Delaware judge stayed the proceedings. A source familiar with Twitter’s team told Reuters that at a court hearing on Tuesday morning the judge requested the two sides report back in the evening.

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It was not immediately clear why Musk chose to abandon his fight, although some pointed to his scheduled deposition.

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“He was about to get deposed and a lot of uncomfortable facts were going to come out,” said Eric Talley, a professor at Columbia Law School.

Twitter received Musk’s letter and intended to close the deal at the original price, a spokesperson told Reuters. Twitter did not say whether it accepted Musk’s offer.

Twitter issued this statement about today’s news: We received the letter from the Musk parties which they have filed with the SEC. The intention of the Company is to close the transaction at $54.20 per share.

— Twitter Investor Relations (@TwitterIR) October 4, 2022

Musk, one of Twitter’s most prominent users, said in July he could walk away without penalty because the number of bot accounts was much higher than Twitter’s estimate of less than 5 percent of users. Bots are automated accounts, and their use can lead to overestimations of how many humans are on the service, which is important for advertising rates and the overall value of the service.

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Twitter’s legal team on September 27 said that scientists employed by Musk estimated the number of fake accounts on the platform at 5.3 percent and 11 percent.

“None of these analyses so far as we can tell remotely supported what Mr. Musk told Twitter and told the world,” Twitter lawyer Bradley Wilson told the court.

The original deal was “a very seller-friendly agreement that would be very difficult to get out of,” said Adam Badawi, a law professor at UC Berkeley. Musk realized, he said, “in all likelihood it was going to result in forcing him to close at $54.20 (roughly Rs. 4,400) a share.”

Musk was relatively quiet on Twitter during the day, but late on Tuesday he tweeted that “Twitter probably accelerates X by 3 to 5 years”.

Buying Twitter is an accelerant to creating X, the everything app

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 4, 2022

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That echoed suggestions he made to Twitter staff in June about creating a “super app” or marketplace for different apps and features like WeChat, which is popular in China. Musk also has said he wants to create a money transfer feature.

Financing

A settlement between the two sides would revive fears among Twitter’s users about Musk’s plans for the platform, which has removed prominent politically conservative voices. Supporters of Donald Trump hope that Musk will reactivate the account of the former US president, who was banned after the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol by his supporters.

Musk has used Twitter to stir controversy, including on Monday when he floated a peace plan for the Ukraine-Russia war that drew swift condemnation from Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

Bloomberg was the first to report Musk was willing to pay the original price. Musk also said his offer was contingent on stopping the legal proceedings.

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A settlement at the original price would also allow Musk to finance the transaction without any complications. If Musk and Twitter had renegotiated the price, it would have technically allowed committed backers to walk away.

Musk has already sold $15.4 billion (roughly Rs. 1,25,400 crore) worth of Tesla shares since agreeing to buy Twitter.

Musk has also secured a financing commitment from banks – including Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group and Barclays – to provide a $12.5 billion (roughly Rs. 1,01,800) margin loan to support his Twitter acquisition.

The banks that agreed to finance the acquisition are likely to lose hundreds of millions of dollars on the deal because they would struggle to attract investors to buy the debt, given the downturn in markets since the deal was signed.

However, the banks agreed to provide the financing irrespective of whether they can sell the loans and face long legal odds freeing themselves from the financing commitment, according to regulatory filings.

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Since Twitter has already received shareholder support for the sale to Musk, the deal could close quickly in the coming weeks if the two sides were to settle on the original terms.

© Thomson Reuters 2022


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What Are WhatsApp Polls and How Do You Use Them? All You Need to Know

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WhatsApp’s new features and updates which have rolled out over the past few months have made the messaging experience much better. Now, WhatsApp users can even create polls in personal and group chats to see what their friends and contacts think. Both iOS and Android users can use this feature. A poll could help take the opinions of group members on any topic or idea, or could be useful for making plans quickly. Just like your chats, the responses you send to a poll question will be protected by end-to-end encryption. At the moment, Telegram and Facebook Messenger allow group polls. You can easily start using this new WhatsApp feature on your smartphone.

Here is How to Create a WhatsApp Poll

Step 1: Update WhatsApp to the latest version

Step 2: Open the private or group chat in which you want to create a poll

Step 3: For Android, tap on the paper clip icon at the bottom of the screen. For iOS, select the plus (+) icon at the bottom of the screen.

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Step 4: Select ‘Poll’

Step 5: Type the question you want to ask, along with response options

Step 6: Finally, tap on ‘Send’ to share the poll

Up to twelve response options can be offered to recipients for each poll, and these are not time-bound. Users can also see the responses selected by others by tapping on ‘View votes’.

The Meta-owned messaging app has recently worked on several updates, rolling out new tools including the Call Link feature, the ability to message yourself, and Companion Mode. While some of these new features are not available to all users at the moment, WhatsApp does plan to make them accessible to everyone in the coming days. The most recent and talked-about feature apart from WhatsApp polls is Communities. These allow users to have separate groups under one “Community” to organize large conversations.

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“With Communities, we’re aiming to raise the bar for how organizations communicate with a level of privacy and security not found anywhere else. The alternatives available today require trusting apps or software companies with a copy of their messages – and we think they deserve the higher level of security provided by end-to-end encryption,” stated WhatsApp in a blog post.

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Elon Musk Calls Donald Trump’s Twitter Ban ‘Grave Mistake’, Condemns Violence

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Twitter’s ban on then President Donald Trump after January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol by his supporters was a “grave mistake” that had to be corrected, Chief Executive Elon Musk said on Friday, although he also stated that incitement to violence would continue to be prohibited on Twitter.

“I’m fine with Trump not tweeting. The important thing is that Twitter correct a grave mistake in banning his account, despite no violation of the law or terms of service,” Musk said in a tweet. “Deplatforming a sitting President undermined public trust in Twitter for half of America.”

Last week, Musk announced the reactivation of Trump’s account after a slim majority voted in a Twitter poll in favor of reinstating Trump, who said, however, that he had no interest in returning to Twitter. He added he would stick with his own social media site Truth Social, the app developed by Trump Media & Technology Group.

Republican Trump, who 10 days ago announced he was running for election again in 2024, was banned on January 8, 2021, from Twitter under its previous owners.

At the time, Twitter said it permanently suspended him because of the risk of further incitement of violence following the storming of the Capitol. The results of the November 2020 presidential election won by Democrat Joe Biden were being certified by lawmakers when the Capitol was attacked after weeks of false claims by Trump that he had won.

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Trump repeatedly used Twitter and other sites to falsely claim there had been widespread voter fraud, and had urged supporters to march on the Capitol in Washington to protest.

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The attack is being investigated by US prosecutors and a congressional committee.

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday on Musk’s statement that Trump did not violate any Twitter terms of service when his account was suspended.

Earlier on Friday, Musk tweeted that calling for violence or incitement to violence on Twitter would result in suspension, after saying on Thursday that Twitter would provide a “general amnesty” to suspended accounts that had not broken the law or engaged in spam.

Replying to a tweet, Musk said it was “very concerning” that Twitter had taken no action earlier to remove some accounts related to the far-left Antifa movement. In response to another tweet asking if Musk considered the statement “trans people deserve to die” as worthy of suspension from the platform, the billionaire said: “Absolutely”.

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Change and chaos have marked Musk’s first few weeks as Twitter’s owner. He has fired top managers and it was announced that senior officials in charge of security and privacy had quit.

© Thomson Reuters 2022


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WhatsApp Reportedly Testing Voice Status Update for iOS Beta: All Details

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WhatsApp, the Meta-owned instant messaging app, is reportedly working on a feature that will let iOS users share voice notes in their status updates. As of now, the users can only share pictures, videos and links in their WhatsApp status. However, once the new feature will be rolled out, WhatsApp users on iOS will be reportedly able to share voice notes or voice clips as well in their status updates on the app. According to the report, the messaging platform is testing the feature on iOS Beta for an upcoming update.

According to a report by WhatsApp development tracker WABetaInfo, WhatsApp users on iOS will be able to share a voice note of up to 30 seconds alongside text in their status updates, similar to what they can currently do in a WhatsApp chat.

The report has also shared a screengrab of the same, hinting at the upcoming feature, which shows a microphone icon on the bottom of the text status.

WhatsApp on iOS users will be required to click on the microphone icon and record their voice to upload it as their status update. They can even add text to it, if needed. It is worth noting that the voice status updates will only be shared with the people selected in the privacy settings. Also, these voice notes will always be end-to-end encrypted.

Not only iOS, but this ability is said to be also being tested in WhatsApp beta for Android’s upcoming update. As of now, this feature is still under development, so it would be very early to say anything.

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Meanwhile, WhatsApp recently rolled out WhatsApp Polls to users on both Android and iOS. The Polls feature was introduced alongside ‘Communities’, a feature that allows users to have separate groups under one umbrella to organise group conversations. WhatsApp Polls lets users create polls within the group with the ability to vote. Facebook Messenger and Telegram currently allow users to add group polls. WhatsApp’s poll feature will be protected by end-to-end encryption.

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