OPINION: Elon Musk is no hero for taking over Twitter

On Oct. 27, billionaire Elon Musk made a move that is best described as a cheap shot – He took over social media giant Twitter for $44 billion.

Elon Musk has made it clear that he thinks freedom of speech has been up-ended, citing his support of this Constitutionally-protected right as one of the reasons for his push to acquire Twitter, and has claimed that activist and civil rights groups are hampering free speech.

Perhaps what Musk is referencing is that many far right-wingers such as U.S. House Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell and former President Donald Trump, have been banned from Twitter, sparking outrage from conservatives.

However, it is a necessity to look at the reasons that Twitter cited for suspending these high-profile accounts. Greene was spreading misinformation about COVID-19, violating Twitter’s COVID-19 misinformation policy. Lindell was suspended due to spreading misinformation surrounding the 2020 presidential election. Trump’s account was suspended after the Jan. 6 riot before Biden was declared the president-elect, after the former president declared those who stormed the Capitol as being “patriots.”

Spreading misinformation and supporting violence that puts the U.S. democracy at risk is beyond harmful – it is dangerous. Freedom of speech should never extend to language that puts the public at risk.

Further rubbing salt in the wound, Musk has hinted that suspended Twitter accounts will be reinstated after the 2022 midterm elections.

Waiting until after midterms to reinstate bold-faced, fear-mongering liars’ Twitter accounts is an admission that their views are dangerous.

By that logic, wasn’t conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, whose Twitter was suspended in 2018, just exercising his right to free speech – even though he was claiming falsehoods that have no basis in reality that were emotionally damaging to Sandy Hook victims’ loved ones?

Conservatives argue that freedom of speech is under attack in America, yet they were the ones to shame Colin Kaepernick for exercising his when he knelt in protest of police brutality. Those same people backed “Don’t Say Gay” legislation, a quite literal, actual attack on freedom of speech.

Musk bought Twitter to create a hero complex – to push this notion that he swooped in to save free speech. But Musk is no hero for humanity. One of his first actions since buying Twitter was laying off nearly half of Twitter’s 7,500 employees.

It’s clear that the power-hungry Musk has his own agenda for Twitter. In an Oct. 29 Tweet, he stated he made the deal with Twitter so that a “wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner, without resorting to violence.”

He has a point – that’s what free speech is all about. Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs, ideas and expression. But for the sake of humanity, we must draw a line when speech becomes dangerous to U.S. security and public health.

Make no mistake, there are ulterior motives here. Elon Musk is setting a dangerous precedent, and it’s one that we should not be silent about.