Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Brendan Carr has rejected a request from the Open Markets Institute (OMI) to block Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter. Carr’s rejection of the OMI’s request was quite strong, with the official stated that the group’s suggestions were “absurd.”
Following Musk’s deal with the Twitter board on Monday, which saw the social media company agree to a buyout at $54.20 per share, the OMI promptly issued a request asking the FCC, the Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to block the transaction. The OMI argued that Musk’s purchase of the social media platform poses a threat to American democracy and free speech.
“The Open Markets Institute believes the deal poses a number of immediate and direct threats to American democracy and free speech. Open Markets also believes the deal violates existing law, and that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have ample authority to block it,” OMI Director Barry Lynn noted.
The OMI also argued that Musk was already powerful enough since he owns Starlink, a satellite internet provider that is currently being expanded to several territories across the globe.
“Mr. Musk already controls one of the most important internet platforms in the world – in the form of the satellite communications system Starlink. Since the late 19thCentury, the U.S. government has routinely acted to prevent mergers between existing essential platforms.
“Most recently, the DOJ in 2017 attempted to block AT&T’s takeover of Time-Warner (an effort which failed because the DOJ filed a poor case, as OMI made clear at the time). This means that just as we would now expect the US government to block a takeover of Twitter by Google, Facebook, Comcast, or Verizon, the same rules apply to the owners of Starlink,” Lynn wrote.
FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr begged to differ. In response to the OMI’s request, the official stated that the FCC has no authority to block the Tesla and SpaceX CEO’s Twitter acquisition. Carr added that the OMI’s suggestion that the FCC could accomplish such a thing is absurd.
“The FCC has no authority to block Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter, and to suggest otherwise is absurd. I would welcome the full FCC making it clear that we will not entertain these types of frivolous arguments,” Carr wrote.
Elon Musk, for his part, lauded the FCC for its response.
Don’t hesitate to contact us with news tips. Just send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org to give us a heads up.