Elon Musk Completes Twitter Takeover With Help From Saudi Prince

Tesla CEO Elon Musk accomplished his $44 billion buy of Twitter on Thursday after a chaotic, months-long buyout course of, leaving the richest man on the planet in command of one of many world’s most generally used social media and communication platforms.

Musk wasted no time imposing himself on the corporate, swiftly firing a number of prime executives together with CEO Parag Agrawal.

“The chicken is freed,” Musk tweeted late Thursday.

A self-described free speech absolutist who has proven in practice to be anything but, Musk has but to totally element his imaginative and prescient for Twitter, however critics of the takeover worry that the billionaire’s strategies so far — together with reversing the everlasting bans of former President Donald Trump and potentially other figures such because the hate-spewing conspiracy monger Alex Jones — might additional deluge the platform with disinformation forward of key elections in the USA and Brazil.

As The New York Occasions observed, “Twitter stated it will prohibit deceptive claims about voting and the result of elections, however that was earlier than Mr. Musk owned it.”

“Elon Musk’s plans for Twitter will make it an much more hate-filled cesspool, resulting in irreparable real-world hurt,” stated the Cease the Deal Coalition, an alliance of teams that features Accountable Tech, Pals of the Earth, Public Citizen, and the International Venture Towards Hate and Extremism. The coalition has urged Congress to analyze Musk’s acquisition of Twitter. (The acquisition is reportedly already facing an investigation by federal regulators.)

“Musk’s plans will go away the platform extra susceptible to safety threats, rampant disinformation, and extremism simply forward of the midterm elections,” the coalition stated. “Elon Musk has a thirst for chaos and utter disregard for anybody aside from himself and mustn’t personal Twitter.”

The coalition famous that, to fund the Twitter buy, Musk is “accepting financing from Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud and the sovereign wealth fund of Qatar — two international locations run by repressive regimes.” Saudi Arabia and Qatar are hardly bastions of free speech: Earlier this month, the Saudis sentenced 72-year-old U.S. citizen Saad Ibrahim Almadi to 16 years in jail over tweets criticizing the regime.

Almadi’s son told The Washington Put up that the dominion has tortured his father in jail.

“Elon Musk proudly owning one of many world’s strongest communication platforms is harmful for us all,” the Cease the Deal Coalition continued. “As Musk runs Twitter to the bottom, let this function a warning to different platforms that they are going to be held accountable for ignoring public security and dismantling the guardrails designed to guard our data ecosystem.”

In a statement posted to Twitter Thursday morning, Musk stated the explanation he bought the corporate “is as a result of you will need to the way forward for civilization to have a typical digital city sq., the place a variety of beliefs could be debated in a wholesome method, with out resorting to violence.”

However Musk’s said openness to free expression seems to not apply to his workers, Tesla clients, or journalists masking his firms.

“In November 2020, former Tesla worker Stephen Henkes stated he was fired from his job at Tesla on August 3, 2020 after elevating security issues internally then submitting formal complaints with authorities workplaces, when the corporate failed to repair and talk precisely with clients over what he stated have been unacceptable hearth dangers within the firm’s photo voltaic installations,” CNBC reported Thursday.

“Musk and Tesla have additionally sought — not at all times efficiently — to silence clients,” the outlet added. “For instance, Tesla used to compel clients to signal agreements containing non-disclosure clauses as a prerequisite to have their automobiles repaired,” the outlet added. “In 2021, Tesla requested clients to agree to not put up critically to social media about FSD Beta, an experimental driver help software program package deal that some Tesla house owners might check out utilizing their very own vehicles and unpaid time to take action.”

“Musk is the face of Twenty first-century tech-based, excessive capitalism.”

Musk, like different billionaire CEOs, can be a union-buster.

Final yr, the Nationwide Labor Relations Board upheld a decide’s ruling that Tesla unlawfully fired an worker concerned in union organizing. The labor board additionally affirmed the discovering that Musk illegally threatened staff “with the lack of their inventory choices” in the event that they determined to type a union.

David Nasaw, emeritus professor of historical past on the CUNY Graduate Heart, wrote in a column for the Occasions on Thursday that “Musk is the face of Twenty first-century tech-based, excessive capitalism, simply because the robber barons, who constructed our railroads, and Andrew Carnegie, who equipped these railroads and the builders of recent American cities with metal, embodied the exuberant and expansive industrial capitalism of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.”

“Mr. Musk has exploited the alternatives rising in a quickly disintegrating regulatory state equipment and bought a small military of buyers and a fleet of lobbyists, legal professionals, and fanboys (often known as Musketeers),” Nasaw continued. “He has sought to place himself as a tech genius who can break the foundations, exploit and excise those that work for him, ridicule those that stand in his approach, and do as he needs along with his wealth as a result of it advantages humanity.”

“It’s not unreasonable to count on {that a} Musk-owned and managed Twitter will, within the identify of free speech, enable disinformation and misinformation to be tweeted advert infinitum as long as it discredits his political opponents and celebrates and enriches himself and his allies,” Nasaw added. “Elon Musk is a product of his — and our — instances. Slightly than debate or deride his affect, we should acknowledge that he’s not the self-made genius businessman he performs within the media. As an alternative, his success was prompted and paid for by taxpayer cash and abetted by authorities officers who’ve allowed him and different billionaire businessmen to train an increasing number of management over our financial system and our politics.”