Twitter is Musk-y

Written by: Li

Edited by: Noor

Visuals by:

Back in April of 2022, Elon Musk announced that he had struck a deal with multi-million dollar social media company, Twitter, and would soon be its owner. However, only months later, Musk pulled out of the deal which prompted Twitter to sue. It seems, though, that Elon Musk does not want to go to court, as the billionaire has backtracked once again- finally ready to purchase the social media platform. The question now is, what will happen when controversial figure Elon Musk buys it? When the deal for the app was first established in early 2022, Musk hinted at ideas he had for the company, but never fully laid out his plan. What he has said though, raises many questions and concerns. The first on the topic of free speech. 

Elon Musk has given himself the title of “free speech absolutist,” a label that describes someone who supports the right of people to say whatever they want, no matter how hurtful the words may be. Musk’s subscription to this idea shows through his being openly critical of many of Twitter’s content policies, some of which are based on laws put in place to prevent harassment, hate speech, extremism and misinformation. He argues that Twitter’s aim to promote more positive online interactions is too controlling, and he plans to “defeat the spam bots” and limit the platform’s content moderation to only ban what isn’t legal. According to Musk, “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,” meaning people should be able to say anything, as long as it’s not illegal and doesn’t cause problems for the company. Musk, however, has clarified that even if a tweet does cross the legal boundary -such as, but not limited to, encouraging or admitting to violence- the “default decision” for the fate of the post will be to leave it up. “If in doubt, let it exist,” was his explanation, in other words: “if it doesn’t affect me or my money, I don’t care.” Experts who have been studying social networks predict that allowing anything in the way of “speech” on a site as wide reaching as Twitter would facilitate a wave of toxicity, misogyny, racism, transphobia and a spread of extremist, or even conspiracy theorist propaganda. This phenomenon can be seen in other social media platforms that subscribe to this particular definition of “free speech”, such as Gab, a social network used by majority far-right extremists, wherein you see an abundance of conspiracy theorists and discriminatory beliefs. 

Elon Musk’s first plan of action  was to grant the former President of the United States, Donald Trump, access to Twitter once again.Trump was removed in January 2021 after horrifyingly positive comments surrounding the Capitol riots. Musk has previously stated that he would like to reverse Donald Trump’s banning if he were to gain ownership of Twitter He stated that he “would reverse the permanent ban,” adding that the platform is currently “left-biased” and that the banning itself “was a morally bad decision, to be clear, and foolish in the extreme”. This has raised further concerns on whether  he would “unban” other individuals like conspiracy theorist Alex Jones who exhibited abusive behavior on the platform in 2018, and Marjorie Taylor Greene who spread misinformation regarding the COVID-19 vaccine. 

As mentioned previously, Twitter has a huge user base of around 396.5 million users globally. This means that the company has a social responsibility to foster a safe space and impede hate speech, prevent violence, and promote positive messaging. If social media platforms begin to abandon this, as Elon Musk plans to, the internet will devolve into even further chaos and become a more dangerous and toxic environment than it already is. Not only would it be detrimental to the emotional and mental health of its users, but could potentially endanger those the influence reaches in other ways such as physically, through spreading potentially life threatening false information such as anti-vax propaganda. 

Social media platforms, especially those as influential as Twitter, are powerful tools that do not belong in the hands of people like Elon Musk; people who are willing to subject others to pain and suffering. But, there is a way to prevent him from enabling this treatment. How? You, the users, need to take control. The next time you log onto Twitter, or any other social media platform for that matter, remember to be kind and considerate towards anyone you interact with- don’t let the bullies win. 

Works Cited

“22 Essential Twitter Statistics You Need to Know in 2022.” The Social Shepherd,

Hawkins, Andrew J. “Elon Musk Wants to Buy Twitter: Here’s Everything You Need to Know.” The Verge, 16 Apr. 2022,

“Here’s What Elon Musk Will Likely Do with Twitter If He Buys It.”, Accessed 13 Oct. 2022.

“What Elon Musk Might Do with Twitter If Deal to Buy It Goes Ahead.” The Guardian, 5 Oct. 2022, Accessed 13 Oct. 2022.

“What Will Happen If Elon Musk Does Buy Twitter? (Updated).” Freethink, Accessed 13 Oct. 2022.