Elon Musk at the helm of Twitter, an arrival both welcomed and feared

Elon Musk’s takeover of the social network, which has been applauded by figures kicked out of Twitter, led by Donald Trump and figures on the American conservative right, is also raising threats of boycotts and concerns from supporters of robust content moderation.

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“Twitter is now in good hands and will no longer be run by radical left-wing lunatics who sincerely hate our country,” former US President Donald Trump said on his own Truth Social platform on Friday.

But the Republican did not say whether he plans to return to Twitter, which he was banned from after the storm in the Capitol.

Elon Musk, who bills himself as a “free speech absolutist,” said he wanted to lift that ban when he took control of the social network.

His arrival at the helm of the company was quickly welcomed by supporters of Donald Trump, such as Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green, who wrote in all caps on Twitter: “FREEDOM OF SPEECH!!!! “.

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“Elon Musk has indicated that he will oppose Big Tech censorship and support free speech. This is something that all freedom-loving people can support,” said Senator Marsha Blackburn.

Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, for his part, wished Elon Musk “good luck” as he “overcomes political prejudices and ideological dictatorship.”

Another figure banned from Twitter in 2021 for hate speech, Indian actress and Bollywood star Kangana Ranaut shared messages on Instagram calling for an end to her ban.

But the first move by the entrepreneur, who confirmed the acquisition by simply tweeting “the bird is released” in reference to his Twitter handle, was to fire several executives on Thursday, including the CEO and CFO. =

Lost subscribers

He also released a message to advertisers earlier on Thursday, assuring that Twitter cannot be a “hell” platform “where you can say anything without consequence”.

The claim did not allay the concerns of associations campaigning for internet content moderation.

“If he makes even a fraction of the changes he’s proposed, the platform will open the floodgates to misinformation and hate speech and restore many dangerous and abusive accounts,” the non-governmental organization Media Matters for America said in a statement.

With 90% of Twitter’s revenue coming from advertising, the NGO says, it will be up to advertisers to withdraw their financial support from the group if Elon Musk’s arrival does lead to a “flood” of hate and misinformation.

Feminist activist Amy Siskind claimed on Twitter that she had “already lost thousands of followers” who had fled the platform, with “hundreds” apparently “migrating to Facebook”.

“My prediction is that this platform will be similar to Trump Social (Truth social’s nickname, Ed) and will deteriorate over time and become unusable,” she wrote, adding that she plans to do so. account at least until the November 8 election.

Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton has warned that Twitter will have to comply with new EU digital regulations that force major platforms to moderate content.

“In Europe the bird will fly according to our European rules,” he tweeted.

Jeff Jarvis, a professor of journalism at New York University CUNY, is concerned about his stake in the social network’s operations after the removal of its main representatives.

The new owner “doesn’t do housework+. Clean company from responsible adults with expertise and experience,” he tweeted.

For entrepreneur and media personality Mark Cuban, “the only expectation we can expect from Elon Musk is that he will demonstrate independence to show everyone who is at the helm.”

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