Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

For Immediate Release

Contact

Timothy Karr, 201-533-8838

Press Release

Musk's Takeover Is a Huge Step Backward for Twitter

WASHINGTON -

According to press reports on Monday, Twitter’s board of directors unanimously accepted the terms of Elon Musk's $44-billion bid to buy out the company’s shareholders and take the platform private. 

Prior to finalizing his offer, Musk had tweeted and discussed his plans to “transform” the social network and make “significant improvements” to the ways it manages content. A self-described free-speech absolutist, Musk has a troubling history of using the social-media network to intimidate and disparage others, including journalists, elected officials, owners of competing businesses and anyone else who might challenge his views.

Last week, Free Press and its allies in the Change the Terms coalition launched the “Fix the Feed” campaign. The initiative plans to convene high-level meetings with executives at Meta, TikTok, Twitter and YouTube, urging them to adopt core recommendations to curb the amplification of hateful, violent, misleading and false content across their platforms. Change the Terms is calling on the networks to immediately make these essential changes in all languages and enforce them in the runup to the 2022 midterms and beyond.

Free Press Co-CEO Jessica J. González said:

“Musk hasn’t just purchased another expensive play toy, but a global online community that includes about 330 million regular users. With control of such a massive platform comes great responsibility — and Musk hasn’t shown he has the capacity to be accountable to this diverse online community. 

“For one, he hasn’t demonstrated that he’s able or interested in protecting other Twitter users or respecting their free-speech rights. Rather, he’s used the platform to attack people, often launching childish broadsides against anyone he doesn’t like or agree with. And he’s regularly rallied a Twitter mob of loyal fans to follow his lead with more vicious threats and bullying.

“For years, Free Press and the Change the Terms coalition have pressured Twitter to be more accountable about its moderation methods. This work includes fixing Twitter algorithms and other systems that promote the most misleading and hateful content, protecting its users equally regardless of where they live and what language they speak, and being more transparent about the social network’s amplification and moderation practices.  

“Protecting everyone’s ability to participate and speak on online platforms requires careful moderation. Musk taking the company private will likely threaten this notion and make the platform even more toxic to its users and the public. 

“With or without Musk at the helm, Twitter must take a series of actions outlined by the Fix the Feed campaign to correct known failures at the company and do right by Twitter users. The platform must continue efforts to stop amplifying bigotry and conspiracy theories that pollute public discourse, threaten the health and safety of users and undermine democracy.

“The success of any mass-market network requires making sure that users feel safe on the platform and don’t feel threatened by others. The leader of any social-media platform must take action against things like glorification and incitement of violence; the spread of disinformation, sexual harassment and abuse; and other hateful activities. These protections are essential for all platform users and not just a few prominent and powerful influencers like Musk.

“This deal has to be about more than making shareholders happy. It should be about protecting civil and human rights, public health and safety and our democracy. We will fight to ensure that Musk prioritizes these vital principles.”

###

Free Press was created to give people a voice in the crucial decisions that shape our media. We believe that positive social change, racial justice and meaningful engagement in public life require equitable access to technology, diverse and independent ownership of media platforms, and journalism that holds leaders accountable and tells people what’s actually happening in their communities.

Bodycam Footage Shows Ohio Police Shooting Jayland Walker 60+ Times

"The Department of Justice needs to step in to investigate immediately," said former Ohio state Sen. Nina Turner.

Common Dreams staff ·


'Impeach Justice Clarence Thomas' Petition Nears 1 Million Signatures

"He has shown he cannot be an impartial justice and is more concerned with covering up his wife's coup attempts than the health of the Supreme Court," reads the petition.

Jake Johnson ·


'Tipping Point of No Return' Feared as Amazon Rainforest Fires Surge

"Up to now, the Biden administration has only legitimized the Brazilian government's anti-Indigenous and anti-environmental agenda," said Greenpeace USA.

Jake Johnson ·


Biden Urged to Embrace Windfall Tax as Exxon Says Profits Doubled in Second Quarter

"It's time for the president to demand that Congress pass a windfall profits tax on Big Oil and use the revenue to provide rebates to consumers NOW!" wrote Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Jake Johnson ·


Texas Supreme Court Allows Century-Old Abortion Ban to Take Effect

"Extremist politicians are on a crusade to force Texans into pregnancy and childbirth against their will, no matter how devastating the consequences."

Jake Johnson ·

Common Dreams Logo