Twitter users on Monday expressed a mixture of excitement, concern and skepticism over Elon Musk’s takeover of the site. And perhaps unsurprisingly, the reaction reflected the divided political and cultural nature of the ongoing discussion on the platform.
The news generated several trending topics on Twitter, including Mr. Musk’s name and the hashtags #RIPTwitter and #twittersold.
Many have raised questions about Mr. Musk’s plans for the company.
Jack Dorsey, a Twitter founder who has served as CEO twice and sits on the company’s board of directors, tweeted a link to the Radiohead song “Everything in Its Right Place” and thanked Mr. Musk “for getting the company out of an impossible situation Has .”
“That’s the way to go,” he added. “I believe it with all my heart.”
Basically, I don’t think anyone should own or operate Twitter. It wants to be a protocol-level public good, not a corporation. However, Elon is the only solution I trust to solve the problem that it is a company. I trust its mission to expand the light of consciousness.
— jack⚡️ (@jack) April 26, 2022
John Scott-Railton, researcher at the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab, wrote: “Does Musk plan to let Trump back on the platform? Will he look at the DMs of the perceived enemies?” he asked, referring to Twitter’s private direct messaging feature.
– Does Musk plan to put Trump back on Twitter?
– Will he look at the DMs of perceived enemies?
— John Scott-Railton (@jsrailton) April 25, 2022
Officials and policy makers in the United States and beyond shared their opinions and showed how the site had become something of a political battleground.
Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, posted a poll for Twitter followers by asking, “Is Elon Musk buying Twitter a good thing?” The two possible answers — “Yes” and “No, I hate freedom of speech” — seemed to indicate his support for the move.
Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis wrote that Elon Musk’s offer to buy Twitter was “a good deal for shareholders and raises the prospect that the platform will become a place.” where free speech can flourishnot a tool for narrative enforcement.”
Nigel Farage, the British politician who pushed for a hard break with the European Union, wrote on Twitter: “Great news. Congratulations, Elon Musk. Let’s hope this marks a turning point.”
On the other side of the political spectrum, lawmakers have been concerned about Mr Musk’s motives and his wealth. “Tax the Rich” wrote Representative Pramila Jayapal, Democrat of Washington. “It’s absurd that one person can afford to buy Twitter for more than $40 billion when working families in this country have to choose between buying groceries or their prescription drugs every day.”
Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, divided a similar message: “This deal is dangerous for our democracy. Billionaires like Elon Musk play by different rules than everyone else, accumulating power for their own benefit. We need a wealth tax and strict rules to hold big tech accountable.”
Robert Reich, a labor secretary under former President Bill Clinton, touched on the concerns of many progressives when he wrote on the website: “When billionaires like Elon Musk justify their motives with ‘freedom,’ be careful. What they are really looking for is freedom from responsibility.”
When billionaires like Elon Musk justify their motives with “freedom,” caution is advised. What they are really looking for is freedom from responsibility.
— Robert Reich (@RBReich) April 24, 2022
In the business world, Mr. Musk’s allies were optimistic. Keith Rabois, a venture capitalist who worked with Mr. Musk at PayPal, posted earlier on Monday“Ok, now I can finally start tweeting.”
The entertainment world also took notice. Ice Cube, the rapper and actor, wrote on Twitter: “Free at last!” He tagged Mr. Musk and wrote, “Take off my shadow ban homie,” which refers to a subtle way of restricting a user’s posts without notifying them.
Others expressed fears of harassment on the platform after Mr Musk announced he would change how content is moderated. Users of social media sites like Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok have long complained that harassment is rampant, even with current content moderation efforts.
dr Peter Hotez, a vaccine researcher who has frequently spoken publicly about receiving threats online after speaking about pandemic safety measures, said he was forced to block two to four people or groups most days “because of their threatening tweets or threats.” He said on Twitter that if hate reactions against him increased significantly, he would seek an alternative to the site.
My take on Twitter: Every day I block an average of 2-4 people or groups because of their threatening tweets or threats. This increases X10-20 when FoxNews anchors send out a nightly dog whistle/attack. If it stays the way it is under Elon Musk, I’ll probably tolerate it, but
— Prof. Peter Hotez MD PhD (@PeterHotez) April 25, 2022
And some expressed concern that people would abandon the platform. “This is like a Twitter season finale,” he wrote Jane Manchun Wonga technology blogger and researcher.
But others called leaving Twitter a dramatic response. “I doubt anyone is actually leaving Twitter,” read a post by the Twitter account for Spawn Wave, a YouTube platform primarily for technical reviews and video game content. “There’s just too much stuff to complain about these days.”