Musk explains why he bought Twitter
Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk has tried to calm advertiser concerns about his acquisition of Twitter, telling them that he’s buying the social media platform to help save human civilization and that he won’t let it become a “free-for-all hellscape.”
Speaking on the eve of closing his $44 billion takeover of Twitter, Musk posted a message to advertisers explaining his rationale for the deal. “I didn’t do it to make more money,” he said. “I did it to try to help humanity, whom I love. And I do so with humility, recognizing that failure in pursuing this goal, despite our best efforts, is a very real possibility.”
The Tesla CEO, who ranks as the world’s richest person with a fortune estimated by Forbes at more than $221 billion, made his takeover bid for Twitter in April. At the time, he pledged to end censorship of conservative voices on the platform, saying free speech was a “societal imperative for a functioning democracy.”
Critics, including Twitter employees, raised concerns that Musk would make the platform unsafe by allowing “harmful” content. In May, more than two dozen left-wing activist groups urged advertisers to boycott Twitter if Musk completed his takeover, saying he would make the social media giant a “direct threat to public safety.”
Although Musk has called himself a “free speech absolutist,” his note to advertisers suggested that the conversations on Twitter won’t be completely unregulated under his ownership. “Twitter obviously cannot become a free-for-all hellscape where anything can be said with no consequences,” he said. “In addition to adhering to the laws of the land, our platform must be warm and welcoming to all, where you can choose your desired experience according to your preferences, just as you can choose, for example, to see movies or play video games ranging from all ages to mature.”
Musk said the social media industry currently faces a risk of splintering into far-right and far-left “echo chambers that generate more hate and divide our society.” Traditional media outlets have fueled and catered to the polarized extremes as they relentlessly pursue higher ratings and profits, he added.
“The reason I acquired Twitter is because it is important to the future of civilization to have a common digital town square, where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner, without resorting to violence,” the billionaire said.