Elon Musk's $44 billion deal to buy Twitter has attracted massive attention around the world.

Here at home, the latest developments are no doubt being watched closely by the company's Irish staff.

The social media platform employs more than 500 people at its European Headquarters in Dublin.

What will the change of ownership mean for them?

Announcing the deal, Elon Musk described Twitter as "the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated".

He also said that free speech was "the bedrock of a functioning democracy" but there are concerns over what his definition of free speech might mean.

"He's very likely to allow almost anyone say absolutely anything unless it's very explicitly against the law," said Professor Jane Suiter, director of DCU's Institute for Future Media, Democracy and Society.

"We're likely to find an awful lot more comment on Twitter that a lot of people will find problematic," she said.

There is speculation that Elon Musk could allow Donald Trump back onto the platform, although the former US president has said he won’t be returning and will instead stick with his own social media platform, 'Truth'.

Mr Musk has vowed to make Twitter more transparent.

"I also want to make Twitter better than ever by enhancing the product with new features, making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating the spam bots, and authenticating all humans," he said in a statement.

"If you trust Musk, you will think that this is a good idea and that he will make the algorithms more transparent and we'll understand what it means to trend on Twitter and what makes that happen," said Stephen O'Leary, of social media monitoring firm Olytico.

"If you don't trust Musk, then this is a concerning moment because we really don't know what he is going to do with the platform," he added.

Elon Musk said he wants to make Twitter better than ever and looks forward to working with the company to unlock its tremendous potential.

Twitter’s Irish staff will be wondering exactly where they will fit in with his plans.