Our English vocabulary selection today is about Elon Musk’s purchase of 44 billion dollars worth of shares of Twitter last week. It was almost impossible to have missed the news, and that’s because Twitter is the favorite social network of politicians and opinion-makers in many, many countries. Probably the country where you live, too. So, today you’ll learn a few new words in English that will help you discuss the issue with your international friends and colleagues.
Tweet: the chirp of a small or young bird. It is also the word we use to talk about a single post made on Twitter. Users of Twitter “Tweet” when they publish a message. Now you know why Twitter uses the image of a bird in its logo.
Takeover: an act of assuming control of something, in this case, the purchase of Twitter by Elon Musk.
Shareholder: the owner of shares in a company.
Pundit: an expert in a particular subject or field who is often asked to give opinions about it to the public.
Censorship: the prohibition of parts of books, films, news, or statements posted to social networks, that are considered obscene, hateful, unacceptable, or a threat to security.
Open source: software that users have the right to use, study, change and distribute.
It’s almost impossible that you haven’t heard, but billionaire businessman Elon Musk has offered to buy a controlling stake in the US-based, social-network giant Twitter. His offer to shareholders was $54.20 per share, and the total purchase is valued at USD $44 billion.
Maybe you even read a tweet about the takeover.
Anyway, it is one of those pieces of news that has been difficult to miss. Pundits are all over the place, stating their opinions. They have been writing opinion columns in magazines and newspapers, and they have getting interviewed on podcasts, and TV and radio news programs. It seems everyone has an opinion about the takeover.
That’s because Twitter has become such an important medium for people to share news, opinion, and information. Sending Tweets has also become a favorite way for politicians to communicate directly with people.
Of course, a notable and recent example was how Donald Trump used Twitter. He Tweeted more than 25,000 times during his presidency. In fact, on his busiest day on Twitter, Trump Tweeted more than 200 times! Eventually, Twitter permanently suspended Trump for Tweets they say encouraged violent behavior. So, the ability of Twitter to censor politicians and leaders of opinion is a controversial topic.
That is not the only hot topic.
Twitter, like all social networks, uses an algorithm to determine how far a Tweet can circulate. The algorithm promotes some Tweets and not others. That has led to suspicion and accusations against Twitter in the past. In order to make the process more transparent, Elon Musk has said he would make the algorithm software open source, so anyone interested could see how the algorithm works, to make sure that it is as fair as possible.
These are only two of the issues surrounding the takeover. To hear more, just tune in to hear your favorite pundit state their case.