People on the left and people on the right are gearing up for a battle over the reports that Twitter’s board of directors could come to a deal as early as Monday for Elon Musk to be its new owner.
Some are in the glory with the thought that soon former President Donald Trump could be putting out his attention-grabbing late night and early morning tweets again. But those on the left, including some powerful watchdog groups, are raising significant concern about opening the way for extremists and white supremacists.
Angelo Carusone is the president of one of those watchdog groups, Media Matters. He said in a statement, “The sale of Twitter to Elon Musk would be a victory for disinformation and the people who peddle it. Musk could unleash a wave of toxicity and harassment and undo Twitter’s efforts to increase quality engagement and make its platform safer for users.”
Former President Trump was given a lifetime ban on Twitter on January 8, 2021, right after the riot that took place in the Capitol building on January 6. But Carusone believes that once Musk is at the helm, Trump would be back on the social media platform within weeks.
There are a number of GOP leaders within the United States House who are looking forward to the deal being done with Musk and Twitter. These Washington leaders, as well as others around the nation, believe that if the Tesla CEO gets ownership, there would be an immediate reversal of alienating people like Trump.
Just this week, a group that represents 209 House GOP leaders called for the renewal of Trump’s privileges with Twitter.
Members of Trump’s family have also weighed in on the possible return of the former president.
“We’ll see what it means for my father-in-law, but the fact that you have terrorist organizations that have been allowed to stay on Twitter, but the former president of the United States still is not on there: absolutely outrageous,” Lara Trump, the wife of Eric Trump and a Fox News contributor said. She went on to explain that Donald Trump had some other things in the works right now. But she did say that millions of Americans would love to see him back on the social media platform.
When Twitter banned Trump, they said that the reason was because of the risk of further incitement of violence. Just before Trump was taken off of Twitter, he wrote that he would not attend the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden. Trump called those who support him “American Patriots,” and he challenged that these people will have a “Giant Voice” in America’s future.
Twitter took statements like that and said that they were “likely to inspire others to replicate the violent acts that took place on January 6, 2021, and that there are multiple indicators that they are being received and understood as encouragement to do so.”
Trump is not the only one from the right that could return to Twitter if the deal with Musk goes through. U.S. Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene was banned from the platform after they said she violated the COVID-19 misinformation policy. They shut down her personal account, but on Monday she used her Congressional feed to begin lobbying for that decision to be reversed.
The watchdog group, Media Matters, is challenging the board of Twitter to make sure there are terms within their deal with Musk to keep the existing standards and remove people who violate them.
They warned that giving Musk the helm would “unleash conspiracy theories” that the social media platform has tried to kill. They said that all the legitimate information that is shared on the platform will be “overshadowed” by a “toxic cesspool of misinformation,” according to Carusone.
Elon Musk has not talked specifically about who he would allow to be on Twitter, but he has said that he hopes to transform it into a platform of free speech that has few restrictions. He said that this is “essential to a functioning democracy.”
So the battle lines have been drawn, and it looks like things are leaning toward the right way.