Image - Kate Conger and Ryan Mac and book cover detail of Elon Musk
San Francisco

Kate Conger and Ryan Mac: How Elon Musk Destroyed Twitter

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Rising star New York Times technology reporters, Kate Conger and Ryan Mac, tell for the first time what they says is the full and shocking inside story of Elon Musk’s unprecedented takeover of Twitter and the $44 billion deal’s seismic political, social and financial fallout

The billionaire entrepreneur and Tesla CEO Elon Musk has become inextricable from X. the social media platform that until 2023 was known as Twitter. Started in the mid-2000s as a playful microblogging platform, Twitter quickly became a popular nexus of global politics, culture and media—where the retweet button could instantly catapult any idea to hundreds of millions of screens around the world, unleashing raw collective emotion like nothing else before. While its founder had idealistically dreamed of building a "digital town square," he detested Wall Street and never focused on building a profitable business.

Musk joined the platform in 2010 and, by 2022, had become one of the site’s most influential users, attracting more than 80 million followers with a mix of provocations, promotion of his companies, and attacks on his enemies. To Musk, Twitter—once known for its almost absolute commitment to free speech—had badly lost its way. He blamed it for the proliferation of what he called the “woke mind virus” and claimed that the survival of democracy and the human race itself depended on the future of the site. By April 2022, he was its largest shareholder, and soon made an unsolicited offer to purchase the company for the unimaginable sum of $44 billion dollars. Backed into a corner, Twitter’s board accepted his offer—but Musk quickly changed his mind, forcing Twitter to sue him to close the deal in October.

The richest man on earth controlled one of the most powerful media platforms in the world—but at what price? Before long Twitter would be gone for good, replaced by something radically different, as Musk remade the company in his own image from the ground up.

Join us in-person or online as Conger and Mac follow the inner workings of the company as Musk lays siege to it, first from the outside as one of its most vocal users, and then finally from within as a contentious and mercurial leader. Musk has shared some of his version of events, but Conger and Mac have uncovered the full story through exclusive interviews, unreported documents, and internal recordings at Twitter following the billionaire’s takeover.

Notes

This program has 2 types of tickets available: in-person and online-only. Please pre-register to receive a link to the live-stream event.

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Commonwealth Club World Affairs of California is a nonprofit public forum; we welcome donations made during registration to support the production of our programming.

This program is part of our Good Lit series, underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation.

Bernard Osher Foundation

Photos courtesy the speakers.

All ticket sales are final and nonrefundable.

Thu, Sep 26 / 5:30 PM PDT

Commonwealth Club World Affairs of California
110 The Embarcadero
Taube Family Auditorium
San Francisco, CA 94105
United States

Speakers
Image - Kate Conger

Kate Conger

Technology Reporter, The New York Times; Co-author, Character Limit: How Elon Musk Destroyed Twitter; X @kateconger

Image - Ryan Mac

Ryan Mac

Technology Reporter, The New York Times; Co-author, Character Limit: How Elon Musk Destroyed Twitter; X @RMac18

Image - Kara Swisher

In Conversation with Kara Swisher

Host, "On With Kara Swisher"; Host, "Pivot" podcast; X @karaswisher

Format

5 p.m. doors open & check-in
5:30–6:30 p.m. program
6:30 p.m. book signing
(all times Pacific Time)

COST

Members receive 30–50 percent discounts (not a member? Join)

In-person:
$25 
$57 with a book
Online:
$10 
$42 with a book