Several months after he first made his move, billionaire Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter is finally complete.
“The bird is freed,” Elon Musk posted on Twitter on Thursday evening after finalizing his purchase of the social media company.
But now that he finally owns Twitter, what does it mean for censorship on the platform and his crusade for free speech?
As Slay News reported, Musk has already fired several top executives, including former CEO Parag Agrawal.
Among the top execs were also those instrumental in Twitter’s censorship efforts.
Bloomberg confirmed that Musk, who is set to take on the role of CEO, will reverse lifetime bans on users.
This is something he previously expressed disapproval over.
In a Friday exchange with the popular Twitter account Catturd, Musk revealed that he will “be digging in more today” to look at shadow bans, search bans, and ghost bans.
Musk has previously noted he might diminish the company’s content moderation policies.
At the same time, in a recent letter shared on Twitter, titled “Dear Twitter Advertisers.”
In the message, Musk assured businesses that he does not want the website to turn into a “free-for-all-hellscape where anything can be said with no consequences.”
He did send a message on his first day by terminating several key names at the San Francisco-based firm, including Agrawal, CFO Ned Segal, and chief content moderator and head of legal policy Vijaya Gadde.
Gadde was the person who led the charge to ban President Donald Trump, prohibit political ads, and pushed to censor the Hunter Biden laptop story.
For many users who feel they have been the targets of censorship and shadow banning—the practice of blocking a user in a way that is not noticeable to the individual—this entire saga was a victory.
“Boy, it makes me happy to see Elon Musk at Twitter HQ after 13 years on this platform getting censored and shadowbanned and taking away followers,” posted Emily Miller, an author and D.C.-area journalist.
“LET FREEDOM RING!”
Alex Berenson, a former New York Times reporter and author who was banned from the platform for a year because of his vaccine skepticism, is optimistic that Musk can “return Twitter to its roots as a First Amendment haven.”
“That doesn’t mean no censorship,” he wrote on Substack.
“Twitter must have censorship – of child pornography, of specific incitements to violence, of doxxing and harassment, and the kinds of speech the First Amendment doesn’t allow online.
“But I would expect that many of the ‘guidelines’ and the strike policies around Covid and other topics of political and cultural importance will vanish quickly.
“And I would hope that those of us who are currently being censored WILL BE ALLOWED ON TO OFFER OUR VIEWS.”
Despite the widespread optimism that Musk’s purchase of the company has elicited, it remains unclear what blueprint the Tesla Motors and SpaceX CEO will look at to ensure Twitter is a free speech zone.
The Media Research Center has identified more than 4,500 instances of censorship on Big Tech platforms.
The organization notes that conservative content is the primary target.
Twitter was involved in a significant number of censorship cases, the media watchdog group found.
There is now concern that Musk’s efforts could hit a roadblock.
Officials are weighing their options and tools that can be used to permit the federal government to assess Musk’s ventures.
The report suggested that the White House could utilize a law governing the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).
Since a component of Musk’s $44 billion purchase of Twitter includes foreign investors in his consortium, some speculated that this would potentially trigger a CFIUS review.
Biden’s White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters during a briefing on Tuesday that she was unaware “of any such discussions.”
She was also asked if President Biden had any concerns regarding Musk’s Twitter acquisition or his comments on Russia.
“On the first piece, on the Twitter purchase, that’s something that we would not comment on from here,” she said.
“We do not comment on transactions.
“On his comments about Ukraine and giving up territory I know that Mr. Musk has been very, very vocal about that.
“He’s a private citizen, with a private company, and our position and the government’s position has been very clear, as I have laid out many times here before on how we see that process moving—it is up to Ukraine.”
Musk has been a vocal critic of Biden and the Democrats.
Speaking on a podcast in May, Musk blasted the president, arguing that he has failed to get much done.
“It’s hard to tell what Biden is doing to be totally frank,” he stated.
“The real president is whoever controls the teleprompter.
“The path to power is the path to the teleprompter.
“I do feel like if somebody were to accidentally lean on the teleprompter, it’s going to be like ‘Anchorman.’”