TESLA TO TWITTER?
LP SPEAKS ON ELON MUSK'S CONTROVERSIAL TWITTER PURCHASE
May 4, 2022
Entrepreneur Elon Musk recently bought Twitter for $44 billion. But Musk’s purchase of Twitter, which was finalized last week, has been controversial.
Former U.S Labor Secretary calls Musk’s idea of loosening moderation “dangerous nonsense.” Others fear that the purchase will further concentrate media power in the hands of a few individuals. Others welcome Musk’s purchase: conservative talk show host Tucker Carlson rejoined Twitter after the deal was finalized.
Lincoln Park’s SIREN staff interviewed fellow students to hear their opinions about Elon Musk’s purchase.
Musk agreed to buy Twitter for $54.20 a share. Twitter stock has hovered just under the $50 per share mark over the past month. Musk is paying more than the current market price of Twitter’s stock.
But many people interviewed believed that Musk should spend his money helping the poor and underprivileged instead of purchasing Twitter.
Tay Green, a sophomore health science major from Pittsburgh, said, “He could have made the city look better… give it to charity… help Ukraine or something.”
Tommy Snow, a senior theatre major from Murrsyville, agreed. “I mean the obvious answer is things like cure for cancer and water for Africa,” he said. Sophomore dance major Celeste Gereke from Robinson added, “Maybe he could spend it on underprivileged communities or starting a nonprofit organization, things like that.”
However, Leyham Shroads, a sophomore music major from Beaver Falls, said, “If you really have that much money to just buy Twitter, then go for it.” And media teacher Zac Cageao said with a smile, “As a member of the poor community, I do not care about these rich people problems.”
Some people found Musk’s purchase of Twitter equally tongue-in-cheek. Izayhia Rutherford, a freshman pre-law major from Beaver Falls, said, “I think he’s just doing it to troll people.” Aliquippa native Niaysa Parker, a junior pre-law major, added, “I think he only bought Twitter because it started with a ‘T’ like Tesla.”
Musk, a South African native, is the CEO of Tesla Motors. He is also the head of SpaceX, a company that is trying to develop commercial space travel, and hopes to one day colonize Mars.
The big area of controversy is Musk’s still-to-be-revealed plan to relax moderation on Twitter.
Many employees of Twitter are upset about Musk’s purchase of the company. Some of them expressed their concerns to current CEO Parag Agrawal at a meeting last week. However, Musk said he is not concerned about employees leaving the company.
Several Lincoln Park students are also concerned about allowing more unfiltered content on the platform.
Izzy Tepe, a freshman theatre major from Zelienople, believes “they should have more censorship on hate speech. There is anti-Semitism and racism that isn’t always censored. Things that wouldn’t be classified as hate speech, like harmful jokes that are classified as humor when it’s not humor. There’s children who are seeing this content and will believe what they are seeing.”
Ambridge media sophomore Jacob Trapp said, “I think it should keep the same moderation that it has. People still get banned for doing bad stuff. I feel like if he limits it people will go crazy and say and post whatever they want.”
Trapp is also concerned about young Twitter users. “I think there should be more [moderation] because people can post crazy things out there,” he said, “and there are a lot of young people out there who shouldn’t be seeing that content.”
Tyler Roche, a pre-law sophomore from Aliquippa, thinks Musk’s purchase will “overall be a good thing because he’s doing it for free speech.” However, Roche mused, ” Is it really free speech if it’s being owned by the richest person in the world?”
Others believe there’s no need to make any changes. Theatre sophomore Connor Vaccari of Monongahela argued, “I think if it’s not broke don’t fix it because everything is pretty okay right now.”
Meanwhile, Jonah McBride, a sophomore music major from Aliquippa believes Twitter “should have less moderation to a certain extent. People should be able to say certain things without getting their accounts banned. We’ll see as it progresses on what he changes.”
Some believe that the more things change, the more they’ll stay the same.
“If free speech is restricted,” Mr. Cageao said, “then the people will create a new way of speaking.”
SIREN reporters Grace Davis, Tyson Florence, Ava Lockette, Gavin Phillips, James Ritchie, Karsen Thompson, and Skylar Van Winkle also contributed to this story.