The deal that Tesla CEO Elon Musk struck to acquire Twitter for $44 billion Monday sparked mixed reactions, while observers speculated about how the digital platform would change under Musk’s leadership.
Musk is known as a Twitter user who often criticizes the management of the flavor technology platform. In a press release on Monday (25/4), Musk said “Twitter is the homepage of the digital city where what matters to the future of humanity is debated.”
Musk’s takeover of Twitter has been praised by some members of conservative US groups, who accuse internet companies – including Twitter – of promoting a liberal political agenda and suppressing conservative voices.
Senator Ted Cruz, a member of the Republican faction from the state of Texas, tweeted “it’s amazing to see the leftist panic over the prospect of free speech on Twitter.”
But others expressed concern over Musk’s takeover of the company, which he said would reduce the moderation of hate speech and misinformation on the site with hundreds of millions of users.
Sumayyah Waheed, senior policy adviser at Muslim Advocates, a national civil rights organization, said the takeover would reduce Twitter’s moderate stance against hate speech and misinformation on the site.
“We already face threats and harassment regularly on Twitter. And a weaker content moderation system will only make things worse,” he said.
Twitter has 400 million monthly active users, far less than Facebook’s 3 billion users, or YouTube’s more than two billion people.
Twitter is most widely used in America and Western Europe, where the platform has influence among journalists, political leaders, celebrities and other thinkers.
Twitter allows people to post anonymously and is credited with helping the voices of those who are marginalized. Musk recently spoke about his desire to “determine the identity of everyone on Twitter.”
This has sparked concerns among digital rights activists that Twitter will require account openings to be linked to the identity of the user of the device. [em/rs]