Elon Musk tweeted that Twitter would be creating a content moderation board with many viewpoints.
Twitter officially became Elon Musk’s private property on Friday. This set the stage for the social media giant to follow a difficult path under the direction of one of its most vocal critics.
Quickly, Scrutiny turned to how the platform would operate under the control of a self-declared free-speech absolutist. Some users fear that this will make Twitter a global platform for hate speech.
Musk tweeted that he would form a content moderation council to include “widely different viewpoints” as a response to these concerns.
He stated that “no major content decisions or account reinitializations will occur before that council convenes.”
Musk’s signing of the $44 billion, the on-again deal was the end of a long soap opera about corporate chicanery that included threats, insults, and lawsuits.
The billionaire Tesla founder and pioneer of space exploration tweeted, “The bird’s free”, in reference to the company logo. Let the good times roll.”
There were contrasting reactions to the deal. Former US President Donald Trump celebrated the change in leadership at a platform that had previously banned him. Activists warned of an increase in harassment and misinformation.
Musk was quickly notified by European politicians that there were regulations in place for social media companies.
“In Europe, the bird will fly according to our rules,” tweeted Thierry Bréton, EU commissioner for internal markets.
Musk had previously pledged to reduce content moderation, and was expected to open the door for Trump’s return to the platform.
Fears that he would incite more violence such as the 2021 attack on the US Capitol, which resulted in his election losing, prevented the then-president from being elected.
Trump took to his Truth Social platform to say he was happy Twitter is “now in sane hands”, but he did not commit to joining if permitted.
Musk’s ownership was celebrated by far-right users, who posted comments like “masks don’t work” and other taunts in the hope that moderation rules would be looser.
Jason Stanley, a Yale University philosophy professor, has described Trump’s rise in America as a sign that there is growing fascism in the United States. He said that he would change his approach to posting.
“For the time being, I will be staying on Twitter. However, Elon Musk has made it clear that I will be more cautious about what I tweet. He said that a cascading hatred speech targeting your week can ruin your week.”
Ben Shapiro, a right-wing political commentator, claimed he gained 40,000 followers on Friday. Mark Hamill, an actor, and liberal, stated that he lost nearly 6,000 followers in the three days prior.
Musk fired Parag Agrawal, chief executive of Twitter, and other top officials. However, the company didn’t respond to a request for comment. Agrawal also listed himself as CEO on Twitter.
However, Twitter’s Chief Financial Officer since 2017, Ned Segal, announced his resignation.
Segal stated, “Twitter, at its best, democratizes communication, and knowledge, and ensures accountability and equal distribution info.”
“It is a great responsibility for all those who share in the work. I wish them strength and wisdom, as well as foresight.
Musk is financing the deal with a mix of his own money and funds from wealthy investors. He also borrowed bank loans to finance it. Musk admitted that he overpaid for a company that has suffered frequent losses.
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Twitter claims it has 238,000,000 daily users, dwarfed by Facebook’s almost two billion. It also says that it has not been able to monetize as well as its competitors.
It is however a powerful platform that has a great deal of influence over public debate, as it is used by many politicians, journalists, companies, and other public figures.
Musk has promised that Twitter won’t become a “free for all hellscape”, but he reportedly plans to make deep staff cuts, which would affect content teams.
Musk wrote to advertisers stating that he wanted Twitter to be a place where opposing viewpoints could be discussed in a “healthy way”. However, US auto giant General Motors announced Friday that it had “temporarily suspended” paid advertisements on the platform.
A spokesperson for General Motors stated that they are working with Twitter to determine the future direction of the platform.
Media Matters for America, a media watchdog, raised alarm about the potential impact of Musk-led Twitter on the US midterm elections.
Angelo Carusone, the head of the organization, stated that the platform is now “on a glide path towards becoming supercharged engines of radicalization” as well as a “fever Swamp of dangerous conspiracy theories and partisan chicanery and operationalized harassment.”