Democratic lawmakers voiced their concerns that Twitter will allow more speech on its platform and potentially bring back former President Donald Trump after Elon Musk purchased the technology giant Monday.
Musk, who bought out Twitter for $54.20 per share on Monday, has vowed to take the company in a more free speech-oriented direction, the Tesla chief executive officer said in a statement. Democrats are arguing that under Musk’s leadership, Twitter could see an increase of objectionable content on its platform.
“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 the statement.
Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren used Musk’s purchase to promote her proposal for a wealth tax and legislation regulating Big Tech, according to The Hill.
“Musk purchasing Twitter is dangerous for our democracy,” Warren told The Hill. “It is a reminder why we need a wealth tax and why we need some serious regulation for Big Tech.”
“One billionaire should not be able to turn the world upside down just because he plays by a different set of rules,” she added.
Democrats immediately voiced their concern over Musk’s purchase Monday, citing the potential return of former President Donald Trump to the platform. Twitter permanently banned Trump in January 2021 after he tweeted content that the company believed incited or justified violence at the Capitol.
I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter, because that is what free speech means
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 25, 2022
“He said he wants to make it this global message board. My first question to him, ‘Is our message board going to include Donald Trump?’,” Senate Whip Majority Dick Durbin told The Hill. “That’s a key question. If he lets that man rant and rave on Twitter, not in the best interest of America’s future.”
Durbin added that other key Senate committees are brainstorming new regulations to impose on Big Tech companies after Musk announced his purchase of Twitter.
Democratic Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow also highlighted her concern for Trump’s return to Twitter, telling The Hill she doesn’t “think that somebody who encouraged and organized a violent insurrection to take over our government should be allowed on Twitter.”
Trump made it clear after the purchase was approved that he would not return to Twitter but would instead use his own social media platform, TRUTH Social.
Democratic Virginia Sen. Mark Warner told The Hill he has concerns that Twitter may implement new rules around user content, saying they should have some form of regulation.
“I’ve got some concerns,” Warner said. “I think it will have to go through…some levels of appropriate regulatory [review], and I’m doing some of my own checking.”
Democratic Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley also expressed worries over Musk’s singular ownership of Twitter and its implications for political discourse.
“It’s always a concern when an oligarch may be owning the town square,” Merkley told The Hill. “I think we do need to pay a lot of attention to how it’s managed.”
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