On April 25, Elon Musk finalized a $44 billion deal to buy Twitter. This deal would give Musk the option to take Twitter private at $54.20 per share. The purchase came just weeks after Musk announced he was Twitter’s largest shareholder. More drama ensued after Musk later turned down a position on Twitter’s board of directors – a deal that would limit him to buying 15% of Twitter – paving the way for a takeover bid.
Bret Taylor, chairman of Twitter, said the board “conducted a thoughtful and comprehensive process to evaluate Elon’s proposal with a deliberate focus on value, certainty and funding. The proposed transaction will offer a substantial cash bonus, and we believe it’s the best way forward for Twitter shareholders.
Wall Street Journal reporter Christopher Mims said: “There are signs that the technically-minded Mr. Musk is considering structural changes to Twitter if his $44 billion acquisition goes ahead, which could have important and sometimes contradictory impacts. Among them: his statement that Twitter should make the algorithm that determines what users see open source and therefore more transparent. These changes could profoundly affect Twitter’s fundamental infrastructure as well as its self-governance policies. If they work, they could increase Twitter’s reach or, if not, decrease it.
Musk’s stated goal of buying Twitter was due to free speech concerns. In a statement, Musk said, “Free speech is the foundation of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital public square where issues vital to the future of humanity are debated…Twitter has huge potential – I look forward to working with the company and the user community to unlock it.
In March, Musk tweeted out a poll asking users if the site upheld the principle of free speech. “Given that Twitter serves as the city’s de facto public square, failure to uphold the principles of free speech fundamentally undermines democracy. What should be done?” Feelings like these have led Musk to describe himself as “the absolutist of free speech.”
Twitter, which has 217 million users, has long been at the heart of the free speech controversy. Perhaps the most notable incident was when Twitter suspended President Donald J. Trump’s account after the Jan. 6 protests. Twitter has further come under scrutiny from free speech campaigners for apparently targeting conservative activists and accounts. Recently, Twitter suspended high profile conservative accounts such as Charlie Kirk and The Babylon Bee.
In an email interview with the Catholic News Agency, Fr. Edmund Waldstein, lecturer in moral theology at the Pope Benedict XVI Philosophical and Theological University in Heiligenkreuz, Austria, appeared to support a platform of freedom of expression affirming that the right to freedom of expression derives from the “duty to seek and serve the truth”.
Some pro-life groups have praised Musk’s new Twitter. According to the Catholic Register, “pro-life groups including Live Action and Susan B. Anthony List have accused Twitter and other big tech companies of censorship.”
In a tweet, Live Action President Lila Rose listed some ways she wanted Elon Musk to improve Twitter. “Equal and transparent treatment of liberal and conservative views. No more censorship or suppression of pro-life opinions.
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