Elon Musk Takes Poll on Whether Twitter Respects Free Speech – And Warns Result Will Have Consequences

Elon Musk

Photo by PATRICK PLEUL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images.

Is Elon Musk plotting to buy Twitter or launch his own competitor social media service? A Twitter poll by the opinionated SpaceX CEO inspired many observers to speculate that could very well be the case.

“Free speech is essential to a functioning democracy,” Musk tweeted during the early hours of Friday morning. “Do you believe Twitter rigorously adheres to this principle?” The question was followed with a simple yes/no poll.

At the time this article was being written, the poll results were roughly 31% Yes and 69% No, out of over 1.2 million votes.

A day ago, Musk tweeted a poll asking if the Twitter algorithm should be open source, with an even more lopsided result, roughly 83% Yes and 17% No, out of 1.1 million votes.

“The consequences of this poll will be important,” Musk wrote as a reply tweet to his poll. “Please vote carefully.”

Thus far, Musk’s business interests have focused on financial (online financial services company X.com, PayPal) and technological (SpaceX, Tesla, The Boring Company, etc.) enterprises, but he certainly has the resources to get into media if he so wishes. Both Forbes and the Bloomberg Billionaires Index list Musk as the wealthiest person in the world, with a current net worth of over $250 billion. His next closest competitor, Jeff Bezos, at $188 billion, has leveraged his wealth into involvement in the media world with his 2013 purchase of The Washington Post.

Musk is far from the first prominent figure to express frustration at the influence and content moderation decisions of Big Tech companies, and there have been multiple efforts to launch competitors to the major social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, but so far they’ve had trouble gaining broad audiences.

The responses to Musk’s tweets ranged from pointing out that Twitter was not the government, so it couldn’t actually violate any American’s free speech rights, to others openly encouraging Musk to either buy Twitter or launch his own competitive platform.

Astrophysicist Antonio Paris may have had the best idea for an improved Twitter, tweeting that he just wanted to see “space stuff and kittens…and puppies. No politics.”

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Sarah Rumpf joined Mediaite in 2020 and is a Contributing Editor focusing on politics, law, and the media. A native Floridian, Sarah attended the University of Florida, graduating with a double major in Political Science and German, and earned her Juris Doctor, cum laude, from the UF College of Law. Sarah's writing has been featured at National Review, The Daily Beast, Reason, Law & Crime, Independent Journal Review, Texas Monthly, The Capitolist, Breitbart Texas, Townhall, RedState, The Orlando Sentinel, and the Austin-American Statesman, and her political commentary has led to appearances on the BBC, MSNBC, NewsNation, Fox 35 Orlando, Fox 7 Austin, The Young Turks, The Dean Obeidallah Show, and other television, radio, and podcast programs across the globe.