Elon Musk, the CEO of Twitter, predicts that the social media platform will have a significant role in the upcoming 2024 presidential elections in the United States and other electoral contests both domestically and internationally. Musk made these comments during an interview with Fox News host Tucker Carlson, which aired in two parts on April 17 and 18.
Musk also reflected on his decision to purchase Twitter for $44 billion last year, admitting that it remains to be seen whether it was a good idea financially. He emphasized that the goal of the “new Twitter” is to be fair and impartial, not favoring any political ideology, but rather being fair to all parties involved, especially with upcoming elections in mind.
Elon Musk: Twitter "will play a significant role in elections… the goal of new Twitter is to be as fair and even-handed as possible." pic.twitter.com/vcFDp7lrvj
— Becker News (@NewsBecker) April 18, 2023
Carlson then asked Musk why Facebook, founded by Mark Zuckerberg, does not take the same approach. Musk pointed out that Zuckerberg reportedly spent $400 million in the last election, nominally for a get-out-the-vote campaign, but fundamentally in support of Democrats, which Musk questioned as being biased.
During the interview, Musk also revealed that the financial success of his decision to purchase Twitter is uncertain at this point, as the company’s value has been reevaluated at less than half of the acquisition price. However, Musk stated that the financial aspect is secondary to the importance of ensuring the strength of democracy and protecting free speech, which he sees as the foundation of a functioning democratic society. Musk concluded by saying, “Some things are priceless.”
Musk said he was shocked to learn of the government’s alleged ability to access everything on Twitter when he took over the platform last year, including users’ private direct messages.
“The degree to which government agencies effectively had full access to everything that was going on on Twitter blew my mind,” Musk told Carlson. “I was not aware of that.”
Musk confirmed that this included users’ private messages on the platform.
“Yes, because the DMs [direct messages] aren’t encrypted,” Musk replied without elaborating further.
This revelation follows Musk’s previous release of internal company documents, known as the “Twitter files,” on Twitter. These documents detailed alleged collusion between Washington and Twitter in censoring free speech on various topics, including COVID-19. The internal files also revealed how Twitter staffers reportedly worked to suppress a New York Post article about Hunter Biden’s laptop prior to the 2020 election and allegedly collaborated with the CIA on content moderation.
Musk’s statements highlight the ongoing concerns and debates surrounding the privacy and security of user data on social media platforms, as well as the potential influence of government agencies in shaping online discourse.
Follow Kyle Becker on Twitter @kylenabecker.