Elon Musk is again driving the news cycle with his groundbreaking purchase of Twitter for more than $43 billion. It’s been a whirlwind. In less than a month, Musk became Twitter’s largest shareholder, was considered for a seat on the board, declined a seat on the board, offered to purchase Twitter, to which Twitter moved to limit him from accumulating more than a 15% stake, to Twitter ultimately accepting Musk’s offer.
Dozens of social media platforms have tried to break into the market promoting a free-speech, censorship-free approach, but none have taken hold. Britt Allen and I recently published an article titled “Which Social Media Platform will Dethrone Tech Titans?” In the piece, we asked whether “Truth Social [will] be the next great platform that finally takes down the unholy social trinity of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram?” Our conclusion was “probably not.”
What we hadn’t considered—or even fathomed—was an external takeover of one of the social media giants, in a move to fundamentally alter the game. Musk’s purchase of Twitter should be welcome news to those who value free speech and expression online. Yet many leftwing outlets responded with their typical fearmongering. There are even reports about a Twitter employee exodus and users leaving en masse.
This news is bigger than the richest man in the world purchasing a fun toy to play with. This goes to the fundamental nature of free speech and societal discourse. Censorship, deplatforming, online harassment, and division are existential threats to the culture and our republic. In a press release on the purchase agreement, Musk said, “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.”
As Britt and I wrote, “Free speech is not dead. Far from it.” Musk’s purchase and transformation of Twitter gives us even more hope that this is the case.