Billionaire Elon Musk finally took Twitter’s reins late Thursday night, and the new owner wasted no time putting his mark on the social media platform.
Immediately on the chopping block were CEO Parag Agrawal, CFO Ned Segal, and head of legal policy, trust, and safety Vijaya Gadde. Musk had publicly accused the trio of misleading him and Twitter investors over the true number of fake accounts on the platform.
Gadde in particular drew the ire of Republicans and other conservatives for her heavy-handed censorship of users. This included her part in the company’s decision after Jan. 6 to ban former President Donald Trump from Twitter.
Musk’s specific intentions for the platform are unknown, though he made several statements about the critical importance of free speech on social media.
One action he made clear was the coming reversal of the Trump ban, which he criticized as “flat out stupid.” Musk asserted shortly after the deal was reached in April that for Twitter to gain the public trust, “it must be politically neutral.”
Dear Twitter Advertisers pic.twitter.com/GMwHmInPAS
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 27, 2022
Further, he stated that the right and left edges of the political spectrum must be allowed to be irritated equally.
In the very early stages of his acquisition, however, it is the left that is far and away the most upset.
The loss of Gadde irked Techdirt editor Mike Masnick, who hailed her as a champion of free expression. He proclaimed that “Twitter is less of a free speech platform without her.”
Writing for Uproxx, Mike Redmond ominously predicted that the entire enterprise is “about to go down.” He added it’s a “miracle” that flames are not already coming out of the platform.
And Bridgett Todd, director of communications for the feminist UltraViolet, fears that the entrepreneur is set to tear apart Pandora’s Box and “flood the internet once again with hate, misogyny, racism and conspiracy theories.”
She added that everyone should be terrified.
This is all before Musk owned the platform for 24 hours. In days gone by, the left championed free speech and fiercely defended the right to make the most unpopular and offensive statements. As is now clear, however, they only meant statements that follow their preferred narratives.