Students React to Elon Musk Twitter Takeover


Media by Willem Hummel

Students are intrigued by Elon Musk’s activity on twitter and his plan to buy the platform.

Elon Musk announced in April that he planned to buy 9.2 percent of Twitter for $44 billion, but has since put the plan on hold.

Under his plan, he would make some changes including allowing suspended users to reclaim their accounts and relaxing rules on hate speech according to the New York Times article  “Why Elon Musk’s Plan to ‘Fix’ Twitter Will be Harder to Implement Than He Thinks” 

Pedro Sylvera Smith, freshmen, said he is a frequent Twitter user who is a bit hesitant about Musk being a primary shareholder.

“I think he owns way too many companies,” Smith said. “It’s not a monopoly per se, but he has accumulated too much stuff and controls too many important ventures.” 

Smith said he is also uncertain about Musk’s motives to buy the social media platform, as Musk is a rather mysterious person, he said.

I think he owns way too many companies. It’s not a monopoly per se, but he has accumulated too much stuff and controls too many important ventures.”

— Pedro Sylvera Smith

“I think that part of him just wants to control the source, and I think he does want to allow more free speech on the platform,” Smith said.

The amount Musk would pay for Twitter was most likely not worthwhile, Smith said. $44 billion dollars is a large amount of money, and that money could have gone other places, he said. 

Musk’s Boring company, which plans to build high-speed transport tunnels, would have been better to spend money on, Smith said. The train would make travel much easier, he said, and it would be a far wiser investment.

Smith said that even though he isn’t thrilled about Musk owning Twitter, he does not think it would significantly impact his or other people’s time on Twitter because Musk has mostly said he wants to unban people instead of banning them.

Smith said unbanning suspended accounts would be a good idea as some were banned for disagreeing with what Twitter founders believed was right. 

“For example, banning President Trump wasn’t the best decision because he was still a major political figure, and he should have been able to say his mind even if Twitter disagreed with what he said,” Smith said. “If Twitter’s main goal was to stop him from reaching his target network, he is still able to do that through other apps like Parlor and the Troop Social app.”

That was pretty much domestic terrorism, and the response to that nationwide wasn’t as heavy as it should have been considering it was literal terrorism. ”

— Patrick McCormick

In a public announcement two days following the Jan. 6 attack on the Capital, Twitter announced their decision to ban Trump. 

After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them — specifically how they are being received and interpreted on and off Twitter — we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence.” 

Patrick McCormick, senior, is also a frequent Twitter user, however, he said the suspension of Trump was justified.

“He pretty much incited that insurrection, and if he’s committing a crime on social media, he should get banned for that,” McCormick said.

McCormick also said supporters of the Jan. 6, 2020, insurrection were not dealt a great enough penalty on social media for their actions.

“That was pretty much domestic terrorism, and the response to that nationwide wasn’t as heavy as it should have been considering it was literal terrorism,” McCormick said.

McCormick said Twitter should have banned all accounts supporting the insurrection, especially the people who were found guilty of running into the buildings.

“I think since a lot of the people that were doing it were white, it affected the response too,” McCormick said. “We saw a couple months prior, with the BLM protests, there were a lot more negative reactions to that versus an insurrection of a government building.”

Compared to other apps and social media platforms like TikTok, Twitter is quite lenient when it comes to free speech on the platform, even including vulgar posts, McCormick said.

Owen DeArmond, sophomore and avid Twitter user, said there will not be much of a change to the platform other than it changing hands, and does not believe that the change is a big deal.

“I’m sure he [Elon Musk] has done some bad things but I haven’t heard many bad things about him,” DeArmond said.

Unlike DeArmond, junior Kimora Mayes, also a frequent Twitter user, said Musk buying Twitter will have a negative impact on the platform, even if it doesn’t have an effect on her own usage

“I hear that a lot of people hate that he has it, and they don’t like that he bought it. I don’t think there have been negative effects yet, I feel like they are coming though,” Kimora said.