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Opinion: Can Musk save Twitter?

Peter Shokeir | editor@fitzhugh.ca

Twitter is about to get a new owner.

Entrepreneur Elon Musk is buying the social media platform for $44 billion, an announcement that has gotten mixed reactions from the public.

In a TED interview taped before the announcement, Musk said there was a need for “an inclusive arena for free speech,” provided the speech in question aligns with the laws of the country that Twitter operates in.

This commitment pleases the political right amid worries of shadow banning and the alleged liberal bias of the platform.

The political left, meanwhile, fears this could mean the spread of hate speech, misinformation and conspiracy theories.

Musk also had less controversial proposals, such as eliminating spam bots, making the code open source and adding an edit button.

Critics are concerned how one billionaire will own such an important platform.

Then again, Mark Zuckerberg basically owns Facebook and Instagram, and the Chinese government likely has its fingers in TikTok.

Musk does have flamboyant tendencies and a dubious record when it comes to his Twitter usage—he once baselessly called a British diver involved in the Thai cave rescue a “pedo guy” and compared Trudeau to Hitler during the trucker protests.

As the head of Tesla, SpaceX, Neuralink and The Boring Company, Musk already has a lot on his plate, so it begs the question whether he will prioritize fixing Twitter or getting humanity to Mars.

Regardless of how you feel about this takeover, no one can deny that Twitter is a cesspool and in desperate need of retooling, if nothing else but to help lower the temperature of public discourse and restore some sense of civility.

Whether Musk is the person to do it, only time will tell.

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