Reactions to Elon Musk’s deal to buy Twitter for $44 billion

(Image by Matt Rourke via CFP)
FILE PHOTO – Elon Musk attends TIME Person of the Year on December 13, 2021 in New York City. /Getty Images

Elon Musk, the world’s richest man, struck a deal Monday to buy Twitter for 44 billion U.S. dollars, capping a saga complete with hostile takeover threats before delivering him personal control of one of the most influential social media platforms on the planet.

“Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated,” Musk said in a statement released by Twitter.

“I also want to make Twitter better than ever by enhancing the product with new features, making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating the spam bots and authenticating all humans.”

However advocacy groups were wary of the type of content Musk might allow on the platform, and Derrick Johnson, president of the NAACP civil rights organization, tweeted, “Do not allow Twitter to become a petri dish for hate speech, misinformation or disinformation. Protecting our democracy is of utmost importance.”

At the White House, Press Secretary Jen Psaki said “no matter who owns or runs Twitter,” President Joe Biden — himself a Twitter user — is “concerned about the power of large social media platforms.”

Twitter stock closed 5.6 percent higher in New York trading.

Musk bought a nine-percent stake in Twitter earlier in April, then offered to buy the whole company outright, citing a mission of preserving free speech.

Here are some other reactions to Musk’s move on Twitter.

While the firm’s board initially said it was reviewing his offer, it later rebuffed him and adopted a “poison pill” plan that would have made it harder for Musk to acquire a controlling position.

But last week, Musk — whose immense wealth stems from the popularity of Tesla electric vehicles as well as other ventures — said he had lined up 46.5 billion U.S. dollars in financing comprised of debt, a margin loan and his personal fortune.