Free speech is great and all, unless what they’re saying about you is false.
Elon Musk is calling a story published by the New York Post ‘false’ after the outlet originally reported that former President Donald Trump quietly ‘encouraged’ Musk to buy Twitter. The article released Thursday claimed that, according to an interview on Fox Business Network with ex-congressman and Truth Social CEO Devin Nunes, Trump essentially gave Musk a solid pat on the rear to send him off on the races for his Twitter deal, saying the former president “actually said to go and buy it,” with the goal of creating a “family-friendly, safe environment.”
The following day, Musk went to Twitter to stamp out the news, saying “this is false.”
Nunes is probably not a very solid source on any subject, so the claim itself is dubious at best. Still, Musk’s firm denial is a noted bit of irony from a “free speech absolutist” who has no problem making problematic and harmful comments about subjects like mental health.
Trump has publicly said that he will be staying off Twitter despite comments by Musk that the new platform will become a bastion of “free speech.” If you’ve been following along, then you know that Trump has been permanently banned from Twitter after the Jan. 6 insurrection over concerns he’d further incite violence.
Other conservatives have been making wild claims that Musk’s turn as head of Twitter will allow them back on the platform after being banned for various violations to the platform’s terms of service.
The idea that Musk will be allowing anyone to say whatever they want without censor has led to a flood of conservatives getting back onto the platform, some of who had logged off after claiming Twitter’s rules quashed “free speech.”
Some on the right, like Tucker Carlson, falsely implied that Musk’s Twitter purchase had already allowed them back onto the platform, even though all he had to do was delete one offending tweet. Mike Lindell, AKA, the MyPillow Guy, was giving himself a pat on the back for rejoining Twitter Monday only to be banned again in a mere three hours.
Meanwhile, Musk’s apparent plans for Twitter include a heavy emphasis on “hardcore software engineering, design, infosec & server hardware,” according to a recent tweet.
Although he’s emphasizing the idea that people are chomping at the bit to get onto Musk’s new Twitter team, even as the deal is not fully formed, current employees are nervous that all their efforts to curtail misinformation on the platform will be reversed if Musk takes charge.