President Joe Biden has joined thousands of Americans to condemn Twitter after Elon Musk acquired it. Biden said the social media platform spreads lies all over the globe after Musk’s acquisition, blaming the billionaire for firing thousands of employees on Thursday.
“Elon Musk goes out and buys an outlet that sends — that spews lies all across the world,” Biden remarked. “There are no editors anymore in America. There are no editors. How do we expect kids to be able to understand what is at stake? What is at stake? So there’s a lot going on, a lot going on. But we have an enormous opportunity, enormous opportunity.”
The White House had tweeted that social security raised the cost of living, and Twitter had flagged the tweet as bereft of context. Although the White House deleted the tweet after this, Biden’s open criticism came soon after. The president made this comment in Chicago on Friday night during an event held for Rep. Lauren Underwood and Rep. Sean Casten.
More than 40 organizations, including the NAACP and GLAAD, also formed a pressure group that sent an open letter to the top 20 largest advertisers on Twitter, urging them to quit advertising on Twitter in a bid to stop hate speech and false content on the platform – especially in the light of Musk’s campaign for free speech and his retrenchment of thousands of workers on Thursday.
Musk however argued that his policy for Twitter will promote free speech, but not hate and disinformation. He said he remains committed to content moderation and that the call for major advertisers to ditch the platform amounts to “trying to destroy free speech in America”. He argued that there will always be a consequence for hate speech and disinformation.
“The reason I acquired Twitter is that it is important to the future of civilization to have a common digital town square, where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner, without resorting to violence,” the tech billionaire wrote in an open letter. “There is currently great danger that social media will splinter into far right-wing and far left-wing echo chambers that generate more hate and divide our society.”
White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre stated that President Biden is against lies and hatred on all social media platforms.
“The President has been outspoken about the importance of social media platforms continuing to take steps to reduce hate speech and misinformation,” Jean-Pierre said. “That belief extends to Twitter, it extends to Facebook and any other social media platforms where users can spread misinformation.”