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Elon Musk says Twitter buyout inspired by need for ‘inclusive arena for free speech’

Credit: TED

During Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s TED talk today, he detailed his offer to buy Twitter, stating the social media platform is needed because it is an “inclusive arena for free speech.”

On Thursday morning, Musk made an offer to buy Twitter for $54.20 per share, bringing the value of the platform to around $43 billion. Musk, who said the proposition was his “best and final offer,” had his terms considered by Twitter board members. A decision has not yet been made.

LIVESTREAM: Tesla CEO Elon Musk to speak at TED2022

Musk, who is a self-described “free speech absolutist,” said he believes Twitter is as close to a public town hall as there is in 2022. It is important to sustain the need of free speech in a country.

“The civilizational risk is decreased more we can increase the trust of Twitter as a public platform,” Musk said. He added it was important to the function of democracy, to the United States as a country, and could perhaps influence other countries as well.

Musk’s financial perspective in the deal is interesting. “Technically, I can afford it,” he said as the crowd laughed in the background. “I don’t care about economics at all.” His goal is not to monopolize Twitter, as he said he still has intentions to retain the number of shareholders allowed by law. However, his focus on free speech was evident during the discussion, which started just after 1:20 PM ET. Musk said users should have “the perception they are able to speak freely within the bounds of the law.”

Since the beginning of April, Musk has become more vocal about this discontent with censorship on Twitter. “Given that Twitter serves as the de facto public town square, failing to adhere to free speech principles fundamentally undermines democracy. What should be done?” Musk Tweeted, attaching a poll to a subsequent communication. “The consequences of this poll will be important. Please vote carefully,” Musk added.

70.4 percent of the 2,035,924 votes indicated users did not feel as if Twitter “rigorously adhered” to the idea that free speech is essential to a functioning democracy.

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Elon Musk says Twitter buyout inspired by need for ‘inclusive arena for free speech’
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