Angelo Carusone: Twitter under Musk “will become a supercharged engine of radicalization”

Elon Musk Twitter

Citation Molly Butler / Media Matters

Angelo Carusone, president of Media Matters for America, issued the following statement following reports that Elon Musk has offered to buy Twitter at the original share price:

From the outset, Elon Musk’s desire to take over Twitter was about advancing his own red-pilled ideological agenda. He was explicit about his intentions, which is why right-wing extremists celebrated the news.

With reports that Musk is now on the cusp of acquiring Twitter, the platform will become a supercharged engine of radicalization if he follows through with even a fraction of what he has promised.

This isn’t alarmism, this is fact. Musk made it clear that he would roll back Twitter's community standards and safety guidelines, reinstate Donald Trump along with scores of other accounts suspended for violence and abuse, and open the floodgates of disinformation. In effect, Musk will turn Twitter into a fever swamp of dangerous conspiracy theories, partisan chicanery, and operationalized harassment.

Twitter’s advertisers and media buyers already rejected this. Rightfully so. 

The sale of Twitter is the end of the company as we know it, and the beginning of a more toxic platform with incredible potential for real-world harm.

All these warnings could actually end up being understated depending on how Musk is financing this most recent offer. That’s the single most important question in determining if this will be really bad or even worse.

Ads account for 90% of Twitter’s revenue. Musk’s changes would be bad for brands, and advertisers must pull their investments from Twitter to protect themselves. In May, Media Matters and Accountable Tech spearheaded a coalition of 26 groups that sent an open letter to advertisers, urging them to boycott Twitter if Musk’s acquisitions meant rolling back content moderation policies limiting hate speech and election misinformation.