It has been both dizzying and fascinating to watch the back-and-forth these past days between billionaire businessman Elon Musk and Twitter. Musk recently purchased a roughly 9% stake in Twitter—making him the largest single shareholder—and was offered a seat on the Board of Directors which he first indicated he would accept.
However, a few days later he reversed course and stated he would not be joining the Board. He then indicated he would seek to increase his shares to as much as 15% or even attempt a hostile takeover, offering to buy the company for $43 billion. Twitter is now scrambling to oppose Musk’s effort with a potential “poison pill”—a legal mechanism that prevents a stakeholder from increasing his stake in a company—thus preventing a takeover by Musk.
However, according to Constitutional Law Professor Jonathan Turley, “federal law may force them to fulfill their fiduciary duties” to their shareholders and sell to Musk, even at the cost of supporting what is to the Orwellian Thought Police who run Twitter, the “nightmare” of free speech.
This is all interesting from a standpoint of corporate law but, what I find most hopeful is Musk’s statements that he was opposed to Twitter’s so-called “content moderation” practices and their negative effect on free speech. Musk has stated that “I invested in Twitter as I believe in its potential to be the platform for free speech around the globe, and I believe free speech is a societal imperative for a functioning democracy.” In fact, one Twitter user explained it this way “let me break this down for you. Elon (just) became the largest shareholder for Free Speech…”
Musk’s comments are underscored by his tweet in late March that succinctly states the critical free speech issue at the core of the debate: “Given that Twitter serves as the de facto public town square, failing to adhere to free speech principles fundamentally undermines democracy. What should be done?” His attempted purchase of Twitter appears to be the answer to the suppression of free speech by Big Tech which, as a willing and eager tool of the Biden Administration, is promoting culturally toxic wokeness that is attacking the fundamental principles of our Constitution.
As Musk says, “Wokeness is a mind virus … it is arguably one of the biggest threats to modern civilization.” Musk believes that “at its heart, wokeness is divisive, exclusionary and hateful. It basically gives mean people a reason, it gives them a shield to be mean and cruel, armored in false virtue.”
As we know, Twitter often conducts purges of speech it doesn’t like by arbitrarily deeming (almost always conservative) speech to be “disinformation,” “hate speech” or “authoritative” speech. Do you see how broad those categories are? Anything and everything could potentially be banned! This double standard is implemented by the tweaking of complex algorithms to either filter out or prominently display certain content as the computer software directs.
Twitter’s double standard cries out for correction. For instance, Twitter bans Trump, but the murderous Iranian ayatollah, the violent and hateful Louis Farrakhan, the Wuhan/Chinese and American China Virus liars and propagandists, Porn Hub (the largest host of child porn and rape videos in the world) and Planned Parenthood (proudly performs most abortions in the U.S.) are all still free to post.
Behemoth social media companies like Twitter occupy an enormous place in the public forum and in the daily lives of most Americans and function as state actors, or arms of the government and The Deep State, as the suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop story clearly proves.
Of course, while the 1st Amendment applies to government suppression of speech, government censorship is not the only kind. As such, though companies like Twitter are legally so-called “private” companies and not subject to the 1st Amendment, while they enjoy the enormous benefit of Section 230 legal liability protection from 3d party content under the Federal Communications Decency Act, they shouldn’t be allowed to selectively censor and to exercise editorial judgment. Rather, they should function as neutral arbiters running information platforms and creating a marketplace of ideas for everyone—as intended by Congress.
Whether his takeover bid is successful or not, Musk has done the country a great service by prominently raising a very important point: Twitter is the closest thing America now has to a traditional public square and its censorship of speech is a dangerous thing for our country and its democratic principles.