Elon Musk’s shocking offer to acquire Twitter has drawn criticism and applause, after promising to open up the social network to greater freedom of expression for the benefit of democracy.
Twitter, considered one of the largest and most influential platforms for information exchange in the world, received a purchase offer for 43,000 million dollars from Musk.
The South African tycoon announced that he would like to make the platform’s algorithm public, allowing people to scrutinize it and suggest changes.
He also reiterated his position on a more direct approach to policing content on the platform, a hot topic on Twitter, especially in high-profile cases of terms of service violations.
“I think we just want to be very reluctant to remove things and very cautious with permanent bans. I think temporary suspensions are better,” Musk said.
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Conservatives applaud, leftists terrified
Critics argue that absolute freedom of speech on social media would be a very complicated issue in the real world.
“I’m frightened by the impact on society and politics if Elon Musk acquires Twitter,” tweeted Max Boot, a columnist for the Washington Post, a newspaper owned by billionaire Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.
I am frightened by the impact on society and politics if Elon Musk acquires Twitter. He seems to believe that on social media anything goes. For democracy to survive, we need more content moderation, not less.
— Max Boot 🇺🇦 (@MaxBoot) April 14, 2022
“He (Musk) seems to believe that on social media anything goes. For democracy to survive, we need more content moderation, not less,” Boot added.
But supporters of Musk’s idea of transforming Twitter came to the opposite conclusion, welcoming the prospect.
“This is the best news for free speech in years!” tweeted Nigel Farage, a populist politician who helped lead the Brexit campaign.
This is the best news for free speech in years!https://t.co/FYcOdmZ5wI
— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) April 14, 2022
Conservative politicians in the United States such as Senator Ted Cruz also showed their support for less moderation on the social network.
“If the left thinks they’re right, why are they so terrified of free speech?” Cruz tweeted in response to Boot’s criticism.
If the Left thinks they’re right, why are they so TERRIFIED of free speech? https://t.co/BB0IvanjNo
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) April 14, 2022
Traditionally, the left and right of the political spectrum in the United States remain skeptical of the power concentrated in a few hands-on social platforms and their lack of transparency.
The network is a world square for the exchange of ideas, and therefore a place where the right to express oneself is paramount, according to its users.
For its part, Twitter announced a plan to prevent the business tycoon from easily buying its shares.
The plan “will reduce the likelihood of any entity, person or group gaining control of Twitter through open market accumulation without paying all shareholders an adequate control premium or giving the board of directors enough to make informed decisions,” Twitter said in a company statement.
The clause, also known as a “poison pill,” will be triggered if a shareholder exceeds 15% of the company’s shares without the authorization of the board of directors.
If Musk buys enough shares to exceed 15%, the remaining holders of the platform’s shares will be able to buy more shares at a discount, which would greatly increase the price that the businessman would have to pay to take full control of the social network.
Twitter’s announcement shows that the platform plans to defend itself against Elon Musk’s hostile takeover proposal.
Translation: César Heredia / With info from AFP
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