Elon Musk Buys Twitter, Our Forefathers Are Celebrating!
Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter elicited celebration from conservatives on Friday, particularly among those who felt the company’s former leadership unfairly censored conservative viewpoints. “I feel like a kid in a candy store,” tweeted Libs of TikTok, a popular right-wing Twitter account that has been suspended multiple times for violating the platform’s code of conduct.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) tweeted “FREEDOM OF SPEECH!!!!” from her professional Twitter account on Thursday evening, followed by “We are winning” on Friday morning.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) delivered a similar message, calling Musk’s acquisition of Twitter “one of the most significant developments for free
speech in modern times” during a Fox News television appearance on Thursday. “I’m glad he bought Twitter,” Cruz said. “I think that is tremendous that he fired the top executives.” Referring to Musk reportedly firing executives including Twitter’s CEO Parag Agrawal, Cruz added: “He needed to clean house at the top level, and simply allowing free speech is incredibly important.”
Musk, a self-proclaimed “free speech absolutist,” has suggested that he would loosen standards for the policing of harmful content such as misinformation and hate speech once he takes over. He has also voiced support for restoring access to former President Donald Trump, whose account was permanently suspended last year after the deadly Jan. 6 attempted insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
Speaking during a live interview with the Financial Times in May, he said he would reverse the “permaban” on Trump, calling the lifetime ban a “morally bad decision.”
“I think it’s very important for there to be an inclusive arena for free speech,” Musk said at a TED Talk in April. “Twitter has become kind of the de facto town square, so it’s just really important that people have … both the reality and the perception that they are able to speak freely within the bounds of the law.”
The platform has instituted a number of permanent suspensions in recent years to prominent accounts, including Greene’s personal account, which was suspended for repeatedly sharing misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines. The Babylon Bee, a conservative satire site, also lost access after it published a transphobic humor piece. Media analysts say both accounts could return under Musk.
Musk acknowledged in a note to advertisers on Thursday before the deal was completed that “Twitter obviously cannot become a free-for-all hellscape, where anything can be said with no consequences!” But as news of the deal closing spread on Friday, a number of Twitter accounts had posted racist, anti-Semitic, and homophobic slurs, prompting concerns that a Musk-controlled platform would be littered with hateful content designed to offend and cause outrage.
Meanwhile, conservative media pundits claimed Musk’s takeover as a victory for their cause, particularly just weeks ahead of the U.S. midterm elections. Ben Shapiro, founder of The Daily Wire, retweeted Musk with a meme of popping champagne, and tweeted, “We can only hope that other social media bosses (cc: Mark Zuckerberg) follow Musk’s lead.”
Angelo Carusone, president of Media Matters, says that Facebook will “almost certainly” reverse its ban on Trump if Twitter also makes the move. He adds that it could have major implications for the digital town square. “It’s basically giving Republicans a megaphone for the worst forms of election lies, which can inspire further doubt about democracy and even threats,” Carusone says. “And if they can target some of these local election races, they can be very disruptive.”
Trump himself applauded Twitter’s new ownership in a statement posted to TRUTH Social, his own social media platform, on Friday. “I am very happy that Twitter is now in sane hands, and will no longer be run by Radical Left Lunatics and Maniacs that truly hate our country,” Trump wrote. He began his message by touting TRUTH Social and claiming without any supporting evidence that it “had bigger numbers” last week “than all other platforms, including TikTok, Twitter, Facebook, and the rest.”
Although Trump has said he would not rejoin Twitter even if his lifetime ban were to be lifted, that didn’t stop some conservative politicians from celebrating the idea on Friday. “The bird is free, now free the GOAT,” tweeted Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), tagging @realdonaldtrump. The acronym stands for “greatest of all time.”
Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover makes the left lose it
Elon Musk finally closed the $44 billion deal on Thursday,
promptly firing several of Twitter’s top executives
Billionaire industrialist Elon Musk took over Twitter Thursday night and immediately fired several top executives, sending shockwaves throughout the social media platform.
CEO Parag Agrawal, CFO Ned Segal and head of legal policy, trust, and safety Vijaya Gadde were all fired after Musk had accused them of misleading him and investors over the number of fake accounts on the platform, a source with knowledge of the matter told FOX Business.
Editor-in-chief of The Federalist Mollie Hemingway described the firings as “An excellent start” to Musk’s tenure in a tweet.
Co-Host of Breaking Points Saagar Enjeti posted emoji hands waving “bye” while retweeting a post of his from April where he had written that, “Vijaya Gadde, the top censorship advocate at Twitter who famously gaslit the world on Joe Rogan’s podcast and censored the Hunter Biden laptop story, is very upset about the @elonmusk takeover.”
Recently ousted CNN host Brian Stelter retweeted a post from Musk from April asking if Twitter was a dying platform. Stelter wrote, “What a long strange trip it’s been.”
But several others were very upset at the news. Techdirt writer/editor Mike Masnick shared a different opinion about Gadde, claiming, “People do not realize how much @vijaya did for free speech. Twitter is less of a free speech platform without her.”
Uproxx writer Mike Redmond wrote, “I don’t think any of us are prepared for how quickly this whole site is about to go down. It’s a miracle flames aren’t shooting out of it already.”
“Yay, manbaby with poor impulse control and edgelord tendencies has the helm. Sweet,” tweeted writer Dylan Reeve.
“I would be so happy if I’m wrong. But the [sic] all the red lights are flashing here,” warned NBC News “disinformation” reporter Ben Collins.
Controversial tech columnist Taylor Lorenz tweeted, “It’s like the gates of hell opened on this site tonight.”
Liberal academic and journalism professor Jeff Jarvis’ reaction upon hearing the news was, “The sun is dark.” Earlier in the day, he had warned, “This is an emergency! Twitter is to be taken over by the evil Sith lord.”
Jarvis is no stranger to Twitter hyperbole. In April when Musk’s plans to acquire Twitter first became part of the news cycle, he tweeted, “Today on Twitter feels like the last evening in a Berlin nightclub at the twilight of Weimar Germany.”
Others in media expressed more general outrage about Twitter’s change in leadership before the news was official, claiming that the platform would suffer, with some even threatening to leave it altogether.
Forbes sustainability senior contributor Dave Vetter tweeted, “After Elon has demolished Twitter, where will you go? Ideas below, please.”
He later responded to another commentator by clarifying that “I’m not leaving until the platform becomes essentially unusable or until I’m banned, whichever comes first. But if he does what he says he wants to do, I don’t see how Twitter will continue to function.”