Hours after declaring his hope that “his worst critics” will remain on Twitter, billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk purchased the social-media giant for $44 billion on Monday, turning it into a privately held company.
Musk, the world’s richest person, according to Forbes, has made it clear that his chief aim is not to make money on the deal but to turn Twitter into a genuine platform for free speech.
“Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated,” Musk said in a statement upon closing the deal. “I also want to make Twitter better than ever.”
He promised new features, such as “making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating the spam bots and authenticating all humans.”
The Big Tech giant – which notoriously censored the New York Post’s blockbuster stories on Biden family influence peddling in China, Russia and other nations – has banned the likes of former President Trump, Dr. Robert Malone and other notable figures whose tweets violated the establishment narrative on issues such as the 2020 election and COVID-19.
Just three days ago, on Earth Day, the pre-Elon Musk Twitter announced its latest crackdown on scientific debate in a company blog post: “Misleading advertisements on Twitter that contradict the scientific consensus on climate change are prohibited, in line with our inappropriate content policy.”
After purchasing a 9.2% stake in Twitter on April 4, Musk reached out to Seth Dillon, CEO of The Babylon Bee, to confirm that the conservative satire site’s account had been suspended for “hateful conduct.”
Dillon said that just before Musk polled his followers about Twitter’s commitment to free speech, the billionaire wanted to confirm that The Babylon Bee had been suspended.
“He even mused on that call that he might need to buy Twitter,” Dillon said.
The suspension came after The Babylon Bee named Rachel Levine, the assistant secretary of health for Health and Human Services who now identifies as a woman, its “man of the year.” The story apparently was in response to USA Today naming Levine, the former Richard Levine, one of its “women of the year.”
Monday morning, shortly before the deal was announced, Musk tweeted: “I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter, because that is what free speech means.”
‘One man could not change a culture’
Meanwhile, left-leaning journalist Aaron Rupar expressed the fears of many Twitter users – including former President Obama – who believe robust exchanges of competing ideas should be shut down in order to protect people from “misinformation.”
Rupar wrote that his “thoughts go out to people i know who are working for Twitter because, yikes.”
Twitter employees, according to the Washington Post, have “expressed concern that their workplaces might suffer under the leadership of the incendiary tech mogul, as well as exhaustion over the company’s uncertain future.”
Amid news of the takeover last Thursday, Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal held a companywide meeting “to reassure his workforce of 7,500 full-time employees by arguing that one man could not change a culture and that it was up to the company to set strategy,” the Post reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
Joe Concha, a political columnist for The Hill, wrote on Twitter that airports “should be packed today with all of those people threatening to leave the country if Elon Musk acquires Twitter.”
I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter, because that is what free speech means
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 25, 2022
At the White House on Monday, press secretary Jen Psaki assured a reporter that the administration would continue to engage with Twitter and other social media platforms to combat “misinformation.” The reporter noted that President Biden’s surgeon general had called “misinformation” about COVID-19 a public health crisis.
See Psaki’s remarks:
BREAKING: Biden Admin says they will take steps to combat misinformation on social media pic.twitter.com/O5OT8LL0Gz
— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) April 25, 2022
Psaki also was asked if Biden is concerned that Musk’s purchase of Twitter will result in Trump being reinstated.
She said she would not comment on a “specific transaction” but stated that “as a general matter, no matter who owns or runs Twitter, the president has long been concerned about the power of large social media platforms, the power they have over our everyday lives.”
“He’s long argued that tech platforms must be held accountable for the harms they cause,” she said.
See Psaki’s remarks:
PSAKI: “No matter who owns or runs Twitter, the president has long been concerned about the power of large social media platforms, the power they have over our everyday lives. He’s long argued that tech platforms must be held accountable for the harms they cause.” pic.twitter.com/9KTSrBYiSM
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) April 25, 2022
Trump told Fox News on Monday he will not return to Twitter but instead will formally join his own TRUTH Social platform in the next week, as planned.
“I am not going on Twitter, I am going to stay on TRUTH,” Trump said. “I hope Elon buys Twitter because he’ll make improvements to it and he is a good man, but I am going to be staying on TRUTH.”
Not serving its ‘societal imperative’
The negotiations to purchase Twitter followed a company board meeting on Sunday morning to respond to Musk’s unsolicited offer.
Twitter’s board members began to seriously consider the offer of $54.20 a share when they were assured of commitments for the financing. That figure is a 38% premium over Twitter’s share price this month before Musk announced April 4 his purchase of a 9.2% stake, which made him the company’s single largest shareholder.
Twitter’s stock climbed 4% on Monday to about $51.23 a share.
— Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (@RepMTG) April 25, 2022
The 50-year-old founder of Tesla and SpaceX, has been critical of Twitter management.
In his offer letter last week, he said the company “will neither thrive nor serve this societal imperative in its current form.”
Prior to Musk’s purchase of a 9.2% stake, the company’s shares had fallen about 10% under Agrawal.
Agrawal succeeded founder Jack Dorsey in late November.
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This article was originally published by the WND News Center.