Twitter ‘hellscape’ and free speech pressure mounts on Musk

Elon Musk twitter takeover

Just a few hours after Elon Musk launched a new era at Twitter Inc., the billionaire owner received a barrage of requests and pleadings from users with banned accounts and world leaders.

The influx of requests highlights the difficulty facing Tesla Inc.’s CEO in combining his commitment to restore free expression with his pledge to prevent the platform from turning into a “hellscape” in an open letter to advertisers on Thursday.

Despite expressing support for the takeover, former US President Donald Trump, who was permanently banned from Twitter following the riots on January 6, 2021, spoke little about his return.

“I am very happy that Twitter is now in sane hands, and will no longer be run by Radical Left Lunatics and Maniacs who truly hate our country,” Trump said

Former Russia President and current deputy chairman of the Russia Security Council Dmitry Medvedev tweeted his congratulations: “Good luck @elonmusk in overcoming political bias and ideological dictatorship on Twitter. And quit that Starlink in Ukraine business.”

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Others urged Musk to overturn penalties imposed by the social media platform.

In response to @catturd2, an anonymous account with 852,000 followers noted for being a huge backer of Trump’s election fraud allegations, who said it was “shadowbanned,” Musk tweeted: “I will be digging in more today.”

Margarita Simonyan, the chief editor of the Russian state-run media outlet RT, pleaded with Musk to “unban RT and Sputnik accounts and take the shadow ban off mine as well.”

“Hey @ElonMusk, now that you own Twitter, will you help fight back against Trudeau’s online censorship bill C-11?”  An organization attempting to remove Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Canada Proud, tweeted.

In a tweet on Friday, Musk responded, “First I’ve heard.”

On Friday, Musk was scheduled to address the employees, but by late afternoon, the employees said they had not received any notice. Pressure is mounting on him and the company.

According to two people with knowledge of the situation, Musk’s teams were looking into Twitter’s source code and asking questions about the platform’s operation.