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‘Dangerous’ or ‘free speech champion’? Twitter reacts to Musk takeover

·4-min read

Politicians, celebrities, actors and even a ‘cat’ were among those to have reacted on Twitter to Elon Musk’s agreement to buy the platform.

The Tesla CEO – the world’s wealthiest person – has agreed to buy the social media site for around 44 billion US dollars (£34.5 billion).

The move has divided users, including US senator Elizabeth Warren, who described the deal as “dangerous for democracy”.

She tweeted: “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.”

Meanwhile, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan tweeted on Tuesday morning: “Free speech cannot mean a free pass for hatred.

“We must not forget the impacts of online hate speech, which fans the flames of prejudice and leads to appalling and tragic real-world violence.

“Social media companies must do more, not less, to protect their communities.”

However, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a human rights activist and founder of the AHA Foundation, which works to liberate women and girls from cultural practices that violate their human rights, welcomed Musk’s purchase.

“Elon Musk now owns Twitter. It is a great day for Free Speech,” she tweeted.

“Let’s celebrate”.

Many said they will quit Twitter, including The Good Place actress Jameela Jamil.

“Ah he got twitter. I would like this to be my what lies here as my last tweet,” she wrote, alongside pictures of a dog.

“I fear this free speech bid is going to help this hell platform reach its final form of totally lawless hate, bigotry, and misogyny. Best of luck.”

Not everyone was convinced people will stay away for long, however.

‘News reporter’ character Jonathan Pie wrote: “To everyone saying they’ll leave Twitter if Elon Musk owns it, I’m 98.9 per cent certain you won’t.

“Bearing in mind that not posting for a week or two doesn’t really count as ‘leaving’.”

Musk himself wrote on the day his purchase was announced: “I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter, because that is what free speech means”.

He later shared a quote of his which outlined his aim to unlock the platform’s “tremendous potential” along with the caption “Yesss!!!”

Not every reaction was quite so serious, though, with the unverified Larry the Cat account posting: “Not sure what Elon Musk has spent $44bn on; I’ve owned Twitter since the day I joined.”

Twitter said the deal is expected to close this year and is subject to the approval of Twitter stockholders and regulators.

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