Billionaire Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said late last week he is giving “serious thought” to building a new social media platform after he criticized Twitter’s failure to uphold free speech principles despite being what he called the “de facto public town square.”
On Friday, Musk tweeted, “Given that Twitter serves as the de facto public town square, failing to adhere to free speech principles fundamentally undermines democracy. What should be done?”
The post received tens of thousands of responses, with many calling on the billionaire to either buy Twitter or create an entirely new platform.
“Would you consider building a new social media platform, @elonmusk? One that would consist an open source algorithm, one where free speech and adhering to free speech is given top priority, one where propaganda is very minimal,” Twitter user Pranay Pathole asked. “I think that kind of a platform is needed.”
In a response to Pathole’s question, Musk said, “Am giving serious thought to this.”
The tweets followed a poll that Musk formed asking users if they believe Twitter “rigorously adheres” to free speech principles.
“Free speech is essential to a functioning democracy. Do you believe Twitter rigorously adheres to this principle?”
In a follow-up tweet, Musk alerted Twitter users that the poll would have important consequences, adding to the speculation surrounding Musk’s plans to create a new social media platform.
“The consequences of this poll will be important. Please vote carefully,” he wrote.
In a more blunt post, Musk also asked his followers, “Is a new platform needed?”
Musk’s comments come days after the New York Times reported it had “authenticated” materials from a laptop that reportedly belonged to President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden — a story Twitter had cracked down on before the 2020 presidential election.
Days before the election, Twitter locked the New York Post’s account over the story on Hunter Biden’s laptop, and blocked users from sharing links to the article.
Twitter claimed the tweets violated its Hacked Materials Policy, and although Twitter eventually revised the policy, it said it would not reverse actions against accounts that violated the prior policy.
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) described Twitter’s move to block the controversial story as an attempt to limit the free press and interfere in an election to benefit the Bidens.
“We believe in a free press in this country and we also believe in free elections,” Hawley said. “The attempt to rig an election, which is what we’re seeing here by monopolies, is unprecedented in American history. They have a lot to answer for.”