Tesla CEO Elon Musk said this week he has decided to go through with a $44 billion purchase of Twitter after all, despite his recent attempt to back out of the deal over concerns about fake accounts.
Musk's lawyers informed Twitter of his change of heart on Monday, though the attorneys' letter still leaves the billionaire room to once again change course. That letter specifically says Musk's purchase offer depends on him obtaining financing, and on the Delaware Chancery Court agreeing to postpone a trial between Twitter and Musk that had been slated to start Oct. 17.
As of today, it's not clear whether Musk will in fact take over Twitter, let alone what new policies he would impose on the service. But he has called himself a “free speech absolutist,” and some of his prior statements suggest he wants to reverse the company's recent content moderation decisions -- including its permanent suspension of Trump's account following the Jan. 6, 2021 riot at the Capitol.
Already, some consumer advocates are expressing concerns about how the service might change under Musk's control.
“Protecting everyone’s ability to participate and speak on online platforms requires careful moderation,” Jessica González, Co-CEO of watchdog Free Press stated this week. “Musk taking the company private would likely threaten this notion and make the platform even more toxic to its users and the public.”
Of course, if Musk goes through with the purchase, he may not care much about advocacy groups' criticism.
Musk specifically said earlier this year that banning former President Donald Trump was “a morally bad decision,” and that “permanent bans just fundamentally undermine trust in Twitter as a town square where everybody can voice their opinion.”
If he still feels that way, Trump could be back on Twitter in time for the 2024 presidential race.