Elon Musk at the head of Twitter, an arrival as much welcomed as feared

Elon Musk at the head of Twitter, a welcome arrival dreaded

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Applauded by personalities ousted from Twitter, Donald Trump in the lead, and figures of the American conservative right, the takeover of the social network by Elon Musk also arouses threats of boycott and fears from supporters of solid content moderation.< /strong> 

“Twitter is now in good hands, and will no longer be run by radical left crazies who genuinely hate our country,” former US President Donald Trump reacted on Friday. , on his own platform, Truth Social. 

The Republican, however, did not say if he plans to return to Twitter, from which he was banned after the Capitol storming. < /p>

Elon Musk, who presents himself as a “free speech absolutist”, said he wanted to lift this ban when he took control of the social network.

His arrival at the head of the company has was quickly hailed by supporters of Donald Trump, such as parliamentarian Marjorie Taylor Green who tweeted, in capital letters, “FREEDOM OF SPEECH!!!! ”. 

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“Elon Musk has indicated that he will oppose Big Tech censorship and support free speech. This is something all freedom-loving people can support,” said Senator Marsha Blackburn.

Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev wished “good luck” to Elon Musk for “overcoming political prejudice and ideological dictatorship”.

Another personality ousted from Twitter in 2021 for hate speech, Indian actress and Bollywood star Kangana Ranaut shared on Instagram messages calling for an end to his ban.

The first decision of the entrepreneur, who confirmed the acquisition by simply writing “the bird is released” in reference to the nickname of Twitter, was however to lay off several executives on Thursday, including the general manager and the chief financial officer. =

Followers lost

Earlier in the day Thursday, he also posted a message to advertisers, saying that Twitter could not be a “hellish” platform, “where anything can be said without consequence”.

This assertion has not allayed the fears of associations campaigning for the moderation of content on the Internet. 

“If he makes even a fraction of the changes he suggested , the platform will open the floodgates to misinformation and hate speech and restore many dangerous and abusive accounts,” noted the NGO Media Matters for America in a statement.

Since 90% of Twitter's revenue comes from advertising, argues the NGO, it will be up to advertisers to withdraw their financial support from the group if the arrival of Elon Musk actually results in a “deluge” of hatred and of misinformation.

Feminist activist Amy Siskind claimed on Twitter that she had “already lost thousands of followers” who fled the platform, with “hundreds” having “apparently migrated to Facebook” .

“My prediction is that this platform will be similar to Trump Social (the nickname given to Truth social, Ed) and its ilk, will deteriorate and become useless over time,” she wrote, noting however that she plans to do so. keep an account at least until the elections on November 8.

European Commissioner for the Internal Market Thierry Breton for his part warned that Twitter would have to comply with new EU digital regulations binding large platforms to moderate content.

“In Europe, the bird will fly according to our European rules”, he tweeted.

Jeff Jarvis, professor of journalism at the New York University CUNY, is concerned for its part for the functioning of the social network after the dismissal of its main leaders. 

The new owner “does not do the housework +. It is purging society of responsible adults with expertise and experience,” he wrote on Twitter.

For entrepreneur and media figure Mark Cuban, “the only expectation one can have from Elon Musk is that he will be independent to show everyone who is at the helm”.