Psaki issues subtle warning of government action against Musk plan to restore free speech on Twitter

Throughout the ongoing saga of tech billionaire Elon Musk’s efforts to purchase Twitter, the ideological left’s outraged reaction to Musk’s adamant insistence on combatting censorship and protecting free speech has been incredibly revealing.

That reaction was distilled Monday by White House press secretary Jen Psaki as she uttered some not so subtle warnings about the possibility of President Joe Biden’s administration being in opposition to Musk’s plans for the social media platform, National Review reported.

Musk buys Twitter to ensure the protection of free speech

Psaki’s grave warnings about the power and influence of social media came after it was announced Monday that the Twitter Board had unanimously agreed to accept Musk’s offer of $54.20 per share, or about $44 billion total, to buy out the company and make it wholly privately owned.

“Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated,” Musk said in the press release. “I also want to make Twitter better than ever by enhancing the product with new features, making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating the spam bots, and authenticating all humans. Twitter has tremendous potential — I look forward to working with the company and the community of users to unlock it.”

That echoed what Musk had said a little more than a week earlier in his Securities and Exchange Commission filing announcing his bid to buy Twitter.

“I invested in Twitter as I believe in its potential to be the platform for free speech around the globe, and I believe free speech is a societal imperative for a functioning democracy,” Musk wrote. “However, since making my investment I now realize the company will neither thrive nor serve this societal imperative in its current form. Twitter needs to be transformed as a private company.”

Psaki signals WH’s opposition to free speech on social media

During Monday’s press briefing, asked to address the news of the day about Musk and Twitter, Psaki declined to address the matter specifically but instead said, “No matter who owns or runs Twitter, the President has long been concerned about the power of large social media platforms, what they ha- — the power they have over our everyday lives; has long argued that tech platforms must be held accountable for the harms they cause.”

“He has been a strong supporter of fundamental reforms to achieve that goal, including reforms to Section 230, enacting antitrust reforms, requiring more transparency, and more. And he’s encouraged that there’s bipartisan interest in Congress,” she added. “In terms of what hypothetical policies might happen, I’m just not going to speak to that at this point in time.”

Psaki was asked again later if there were concerns about the “concentration of power” in one billionaire and the possibility of “election misinformation, disinformation, health falsehoods” being spread on social media.

“I would say that our concerns are not new,” Psaki reiterated. “We’ve long talked about and the President has long talked about his concerns about the power of social media platforms, including Twitter and others, to spread misinformation, disinformation; the need for these platforms to be held accountable.”

Finally, near the end of the briefing, the press secretary was asked if the administration planned to work with Twitter or other platforms to “combat” alleged misinformation — in other words, censorship — and Psaki admitted, “Well, I think we engage regularly with all social media platforms about steps that can be taken that has continued, and I’m sure it will continue.”

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