Racists Rejoiced When Elon Musk Officially Acquired Twitter. What Does This Mean For The Rest Of Its Users?

Photo:  Patrick Pleul (AP)
Photo: Patrick Pleul (AP)

On Thursday, Elon Musk acquired Twitter in a $44 billion dollar deal. He wasted no time making changes by firing some of the social media platform’s top executives. The Washington Post reported:

“Chief executive Parag Agrawal, chief financial officer Ned Segal and Vijaya Gadde, head of legal policy, trust, and safety, were let go, according to [sources]. Sean Edgett, the company’s general counsel, was also pushed out, one of the people said. The top executives were hastily escorted out of the company’s San Francisco headquarters.”

Many users feared the move as Musk, who is the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, previously critiqued Twitter for content concerns surrounding censorship. He has described himself as a “free speech absolutist” and said he would reinstate Donald Trump’s Twitter account.

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Some of Musk’s past remarks include:

“Well I think it’s very important for there to be an inclusive arena for free speech. 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.”

Musk’s procurement was welcomed with open arms in Telegram groups dedicated to QAnon (the home for right-wing and pro-Trump conspiracy theories). Since Twitter is a place where information is frequently shared and sought in real time, allowing users who spread election misinformation to have accounts can lead to dire consequences.

This rings especially true as the midterms are looming. Musk has shared in the past that he would vote Republican in the 2022 midterms. Also, he said he was likely to support Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for president in 2024.

When it was announced that Musk was officially in charge of Twitter, racist slurs were shared on the platform in droves overnight. For example, one tweet displayed a video montage praising Nazi Germany and was captioned: “I hear that there have been some changes around here.”

It was like more than 400 times. Musk insisted that there will still be “rules.” “Twitter obviously cannot become a free-for-all hellscape, where anything can be said with no consequences!” Musk said in a tweet Thursday.

However, later that night he tweeted “the bird is freed.” Musk is expected to hold a companywide town hall Friday. Twitter may also become private on Friday, eroding its current board of directors and stopping public trading of its stock.

The man has owned Twitter for less than 48 hours and racists are beside themselves. Honestly, it will probably continue to go even further downhill from here.

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