WASHINGTON — Republican lawmakers welcomed information that billionaire Elon Musk, who calls himself a free speech absolutist, was buying Twitter, Inc., however Democrats slammed it as an indication that extra wanted to be carried out to rein in Big Tech.
Mr. Musk, proprietor of Tesla and SpaceX, clinched the $44-billion money deal on Monday.
Conservatives have accused the social media platform of bias in opposition to right-leaning views. They cheered the prospect of fewer controls below Mr. Musk, who has criticized Twitter’s moderation.
“Free speech is making a comeback,” tweeted US Consultant Jim Jordan, a member of the Freedom Caucus of conservative Home Republicans.
Mr. Jordan and different Republicans have been crucial of Twitter for banning former President Donald Trump and different notable conservatives.
Mr. Trump’s account, which had greater than 88 million followers, was his main communication device throughout his presidency. He repeatedly used Twitter to assert his defeat within the Nov. 2020 election was as a result of widespread voter fraud, and he urged supporters to return to Washington on Jan. 6, 2021 and march on the US Capitol to protest the election consequence.
Days after the storming of the Capitol, Twitter mentioned it was completely suspending Mr. Trump’s account because of the threat of additional incitement of violence.
Political activists count on Mr. Trump might get his account restored after Mr. Musk’s takeover of Twitter. However Mr. Trump, who has hinted he desires to run for president once more in 2024, mentioned on Monday that he won’t return to Twitter even when his account is reinstated and would keep on his personal social media startup, Reality Social.
Reality Social, which launched in February, joins different newer corporations that invoice themselves as champions of free speech and hope to attract customers who really feel their views are suppressed on extra established platforms. However to date none have come near matching the recognition of their mainstream counterparts.
Senator Marsha Blackburn, one other Republican, mentioned on Monday: “I am hopeful that Elon Musk will help rein in Big Tech’s history of censoring users that have a different viewpoint.”
Mr. Musk has mentioned Twitter’s algorithm for prioritizing tweets ought to be public and has described user-friendly tweaks to the service, reminiscent of an edit button and defeating “spam bots” that ship overwhelming quantities of undesirable tweets.
“Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy,” he mentioned in an announcement on Monday. He additionally tweeted: “I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter, because that is what free speech means.”
Amid issues from human rights activists that the deal might result in unfettered hate speech, Democratic lawmakers referred to as for extra accountability.
Senator Elizabeth Warren, a progressive and a critic of the tech platforms, referred to as the deal “dangerous for our democracy.”
“Billionaires like Elon Musk play by a different set of rules than everyone else, accumulating power for their own gain. We need a wealth tax and strong rules to hold Big Tech accountable,” she mentioned on Twitter.
White Home spokesperson Jen Psaki declined direct touch upon Mr. Musk’s deal however added: “The president has long talked about his concerns about the power of social media platforms, including Twitter and others, to spread misinformation.”
Consultant Ro Khanna mentioned the deal was a cause to move a invoice to guard the information of individuals who log on.
“We need safeguards in place that give users more control over their data and ensure fairness and transparency,” Mr. Khanna mentioned in an announcement. — Reuters