Dragon-level wealth hoarder Elon Musk now owns Twitter. Happy Hunger Games, everyone!
The pedestrian-smashing car baron finalized his acquisition of the social media giant Thursday night, a deal punctuated with a tweet reading “the bird is freed”. This move has left many to wonder what exactly will be freed onto the platform — and at what cost.
Musk recently shared a statement, addressed “Dear Twitter Advertisers”, to explain his reasons for buying the platform:
Dear Twitter Advertisers pic.twitter.com/GMwHmInPAS
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 27, 2022
“It is important to the future of civilization to have a common digital town square, where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner, without resorting to violence,” he writes.
He goes on to state that he believes that traditional media has splintered society into radical political factions for monetary gain, and that “the opportunity for dialogue is lost.”
He then capitulates that “Twitter obviously cannot become a free-for-all hellscape, where anything can be said with no consequences! In addition to adhering to the laws of the land, our platform must be warm and welcoming to all.”
This takeover and its emphasis on a supposed return to free speech leave queer users fearing where the line between free speech and hate speech will be drawn.
Many noticed an uptick in hate speech as soon as the new leadership was announced:
We’re off to quite a start with groyper Nazi trolls feeling explicitly emboldened by Elon to threaten murder and use racist, anti Semitic, and homophobic slurs.
I’m sure the advertisers are going to love having their ads next to this. pic.twitter.com/HfUNC4buO0
— Alejandra Caraballo (@Esqueer_) October 28, 2022
it’s not about freedom of speech, they just want to be horrible pic.twitter.com/dCIRyVattE
— Quantum Tweet (@ProsinPlanet) October 28, 2022
Elon Musk fans once again showing that when they say “free speech”, what they mean is wanting to say the n-word and threaten violence against queer people without facing any consequences
— ultrarotom (vegan btw) (@ultrarotom) October 28, 2022
How much can you bet that the “unbanning” of twitter users by Elon Musk will only work on transphobes, homophobes, general nazis…
and all the queer accounts banned by harassment campaigns will remain banned
— Baronesa ⚧ 🏳️⚧️ 38% (@Baronesa1980) October 28, 2022
in a shocking turn of events this website is being flooded by people spamming slurs, hate speech, and threats of violence after a far right billionaire bought it 😱😱😱
— conure 💀🐦 (@conureCC) October 28, 2022
Musk’s own opinion of the queer community and queer identities has proven to be generally negative. The baron previously espoused to his 110 million followers on the platform that he thinks that “Pronouns suck“, seemingly unprompted.
He’s also been known to help disseminate harmful rhetoric towards gender-affirming care under a “just asking questions” guise:
We are simultaneously being told that gender differences do not exist and that genders are so profoundly different that irreversible surgery is the only option.
Perhaps someone wiser than me can explain this dichotomy.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 11, 2022
Is it really true that four-year-olds are receiving hormone treatment?
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 16, 2022
Though he attempted to reassure that users will still have to “adhere to the law of the land,” Musk’s first moves as Twitter head suggest that those laws will be rapidly shifting.
The new owner is moving to reverse lifetime account bans, seemingly even for users deemed incredibly rhetorically harmful by the previous heads of the platform.
Said previous heads will no longer have a say, as they were reportedly removed from their posts this morning. Former CEO Parag Agrawal, CFO Ned Segal, and Legal Policy Trust and Safety officer Vijaya Gadde have all been fired from the platforms following the new order. Gadde oversaw controversial, socially progressive moves for the app’s safety including the suspension of former President Donald Trump and the banning of overt political ads.