Sen. Elizabeth Warren offered pointed criticism Monday of Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter, calling the acquisition of the social media platform by the world’s richest man “dangerous for our democracy.”
Twitter announced the $44 billion sale Monday, saying that upon completion it would become a privately held company.
“This deal is dangerous for our democracy,” Warren said in a tweet Monday evening. “Billionaires like Elon Musk play by a different set of rules than everyone else, accumulating power for their own gain. We need a wealth tax and strong rules to hold Big Tech accountable.”
In his own post prior to the announcement of the sale, Musk said he hoped even his “worst critics” remained on Twitter — “Because that is what free speech means.”
The billionaire founder of SpaceX and CEO of Tesla is a self-described “free speech absolutist.” At a TED conference this month, he called Twitter the “de facto town square” and said it was “very important for there to be an inclusive arena for free speech.”
Despite his self-labeled free speech bonafide, Musk has a more complicated record on transparency. Tesla has fired employees who noted issues with its self-driving car technology and reportedly asked the Chinese government to censor online posts critical of the company, the Los Angeles Times noted.
Though he did not appear to respond to Warren’s post on Monday, Musk has in the past publicly sparred with the senator in the face of her criticism.
In December, shortly after Musk was named “Time Person of the Year,” Warren called the billionaire out for avoiding federal income taxes. She cited a ProPublica report that showed that Musk paid no federal income tax in 2018 and only about $65,000 each of the year’s prior, a fraction of his income.
“Let’s change the rigged tax code so The Person of the Year will actually pay taxes and stop freeloading off everyone else,” she wrote.
“You remind me of when I was a kid and my friend’s angry Mom would just randomly yell at everyone for no reason,” Musk responded, adding: “Please don’t call the manager on me, Senator Karen.”
Others, including Massachusetts congresswoman Katherine Clark, were also sharply critical of Musk’s purchase of Twitter.
“If they can afford to buy Twitter, they can afford to pay their fair share in taxes,” Clark wrote.
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Elon Musk buys Twitter: Billionaire promotes free speech before purchase is finalized, saying ‘I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter’
Elon Musk to purchase Twitter for $44 billion, Twitter to become a privately held company
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