Elon Musk’s decision to relinquish his purchase of Twitter has been met with a mixture of relief and regret across the political spectrum, with some cheering his “exposure” of the influential communications network and others blaming the Tesla entrepreneur.
Late in April, the announcement of a $44 billion purchase aroused fears that Twitter might witness an increase in abuse and disinformation after Musk, a self-proclaimed free speech absolutist, stated he would virtually let anyone to say anything legal on Twitter.
Friday’s statement by Musk that he no longer intends to acquire Twitter was met with jubilation by advocacy groups that had launched a campaign to prevent the world’s richest man from completing the acquisition.
“A Twitter under Musk’s leadership would have ripped up Pandora’s box and reopened the floodgates for hatred and false conspiracy theories,” said Bridget Todd, communications director for the advocacy organization UltraViolet.
The collapse of the deal is “a welcome reprieve for women, people of color, and LGBTQ+ community members.”
Nicole Gill, co-founder and executive director of the left-leaning watchdog Accountable Tech, criticized Musk’s campaign as a “chaotic crusade.”
“Our information ecology, security, and democracy cannot continue to be subject to the whims of unaccountable billionaires,” she stated.
Others, however, had hoped that Musk’s departure from the platform would lead to a reduction in policies aimed at preventing cyberbullying, lies, and other abuses deemed politically driven and anti-free speech.
“The party has officially ended. The cleansing will occur, “Dave Rubin, a conservative analyst, tweeted.
The son of the former president, Donald Trump Jr., warned that “restriction” on Twitter “will return tenfold.”
“Zero chance of free thought or speech there at this time,” he said on his father’s nascent Truth Social platform, which was launched after he was expelled from his preferred medium, where he had amassed 88.7 million followers.
The former president was banned from Twitter after allegations that he incited his followers to attack the United States Capitol on January 6, 2013.
While Musk stated he would lift the ban on the elder Trump, the fellow billionaire reiterated on Friday that he would remain with Truth Social.
On Truth Social, he wrote, “THE TWITTER DEAL IS DEAD, LONG LIVE ‘TRUTH’.”
Another conservative Twitter competitor, GETTR, utilized the opportunity to promote itself as an alternative network that would “defend online free speech.”
Musk was applauded by Twitter’s CEO Jason Miller for “further exposing Twitter’s sick, rotten, politically prejudiced culture.”
The deal may have fallen through, but the tug-of-war between Musk and Twitter is far from done, as the business has announced it will pursue legal action to enforce the agreement.