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What Elon Musk's past tweets reveal about Twitter's next owner

Playful, aggressive and often juvenile, Musk's past tweets show how the world's richest man has used social media to craft his public image as a brash billionaire unafraid to offend. They may also reveal clues as to how Musk will govern the platform he hopes to own.

April 27, 2022 / 08:29 AM IST

Three days before Elon Musk agreed to buy Twitter, the world's richest man tweeted a photo of Bill Gates and used a crude sexual term to make fun of his belly.

Playful, aggressive and often juvenile, Musk's past tweets show how the world's richest man has used social media to craft his public image as a brash billionaire unafraid to offend. They may also reveal clues as to how Musk will govern the platform he hopes to own.

Look at the feed: It's all over the place. It's erratic. At times it's pretty extreme, said Jennifer Grygiel, a Syracuse University professor who studies social media and who recently assigned Musk's tweets as reading material for their students. It paints him as some sort of rebel leader who will take control of the public square to save it. That is a myth he has constructed.

Musk joined Twitter in 2010 and now has more than 85 million followers the seventh most of any account and the highest for any business leader. He had mused about buying the site before he agreed on Monday to pay $44 billion for Twitter, which he said he hopes to turn into a haven where all speech is allowed.