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Twitter explodes over plenty of news, but perhaps never to the degree it did Monday over the news of its stunning $44 billion sale to Elon Musk, the world’s richest man.
The tech wizard, entrepreneur, and self-described free-speech absolutist is set to take the company private after the board accepted his monumental offer, and the takes came flying in left and right, from fear of the idiosyncratic billionaire’s coming changes to anticipation over certain deleted accounts returning to shrugs at Twitter making a bigger deal out of itself than it really is.
“There are plenty of models for where this site is likely headed,” NBC News “disinformation” reporter Ben Collins tweeted. “I’m on those sites all day. I cover extremism and lies for a living. You’re not gonna like it.”
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Former Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean was one of the first prominent users to threaten to leave the site, writing, “Many thanks for the knowledge and sharing over the past ten years or so. If Musk takes over Twitter I will be off within a few hours. Might be just as well for my well being but I’ve learned a lot of valuable stuff from many of you. Thank you all.”
The Verge re-shared an old article about “How to Deactivate Your Twitter Account,” drawing derision from conservatives as an unsubtle message of dismay at Musk’s purchase.
“Says a friend, ‘Elon would be amazing if he didn’t suck so much,'” liberal Puck writer Julia Ioffe tweeted.
Liberal Washington Post writer Max Boot, who was widely mocked after fretting earlier this month that less content moderation would threaten democracy, simply tweeted, “Gulp.”
MSNBC’s left-wing “Reidout” blog fretted that “one of the platform’s most notorious trolls” would be in charge.
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“Make no mistake: Musk’s ownership of the company will likely make the platform into even more of a hellscape. The reasons why are clear to anyone willing to see them,” Ja’han Jones wrote. “Musk has a warped view of free speech that’s not befitting of someone running a social media platform.”
New York Times economic reporter Talmon Joseph Smith shared that internally at Twitter, the sale wasn’t going over well, citing one source who felt physically ill.
On the right, glee and jabs abounded and figures like Clay Travis needled those threatening to leave, suggesting they start their own site, a common rejoinder at conservatives who had expressed frustration with Twitter in the past.
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Travis even jokingly suggested Musk walk into Twitter headquarters shooting a paintball gun like Ari Gold in the HBO show “Entourage,” in the famous scene when he takes back over his old agency and fires many of his former coworkers.
One Republican House candidate in Florida, Lavern Spicer, dramatically likened the purchase to President Abraham Lincoln freeing the slaves.
There was also considerable speculation about the future of former President Donald Trump, by far the most famous person to get booted off Twitter when he was banned in 2021. He told Fox News on Monday that he would not rejoin Twitter and instead post at his site Truth Social.
“I hope Elon buys Twitter because he’ll make improvements to it and he is a good man, but I am going to be staying on Truth,” he said.
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“Translation: Trump will join Twitter the second Musk lets him back on,” Ioffe wrote.