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Disney Was Going to Buy Twitter in 2016 But Backed Out Because the Users Are Too Mean and Mostly Fake

Source — “We enter the process immediately, looking at Twitter as the solution: a global distribution platform. It was viewed as sort of a social network. We were viewing it as something completely different. We could put news, sports, entertainment, [and] reach the world. And frankly, it would have been a phenomenal solution, distribution-wise. 

“Then, after we sold the whole concept to the Disney board and the Twitter board, and we’re really ready to execute — the negotiation was just about done — I went home, contemplated it for a weekend, and thought, ‘I’m not looking at this as carefully as I need to look at it.’ Yes, it’s a great solution from a distribution perspective. But it would come with so many other challenges and complexities that as a manager of a great global brand, I was not prepared to take on a major distraction and having to manage circumstances that weren’t even close to anything that we had faced before.

“Interestingly enough, because I read the news these days, we did look very carefully at all of the Twitter users — I guess they’re called users? — and we at that point estimated with some of Twitter’s help that a substantial portion — not a majority — were not real. 

“I don’t remember the number but we discounted the value heavily. But that was built into our economics. Actually, the deal that we had was pretty cheap.

“Then you have to look, of course, at all the hate speech and potential to do as much harm as good. We’re in the business of manufacturing fun at Disney — of doing nothing but good, even though there are others today that criticize Disney for the opposite, which is wrong. This was just something that we were not ready to take on and I was not ready to take on as the CEO of a company and I thought it would have been irresponsible.”

Bob Iger is an incredibly smart man. He oversaw substantial growth as CEO of Disney and acquired the likes of Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm. Most of what he touched turned to gold.

In what would have been another crazy acquisition, Disney had apparently all but signed on the dotted line to buy Twitter in 2016 to use as its own personal distribution platform before finding out a "substantial portion" of its users were bots. But even then, Disney was still ready to go through with the deal before Iger decided against it because of all the "hate speech" on the site.

I said Iger is a smart man because while that's obviously true, backing out of buying Twitter because people are too nasty is like backing out of buying a Hummer while you're on the lot because it gets 14 miles per gallon. It sucks, sure, but you had to know that going in. Twitter thrives to whatever extent it does exclusively because people can hurl terrible shit at strangers with no consequences. It's the primary use of the website.

Maybe Disney is actually what we needed to clean Twitter up, but now we'll never know. I'd think twice about sending a mean tweet if a Mickey Mouse pop-up asked me, "Are you sure you want to make someone's day less magical?"

What could have been.