While some feel that tech mogul Elon Musk’s recent 9.2 percent Twitter stock purchase and his offer to buy Twitter outright is a sign that the restoration of free speech could return to the platform, to others, Musk is a threat to the left’s control of the platform.
Speaking at a TED event in Vancouver, Canada, on April 14, Musk said that the reason he’s attempting to buy Twitter is not to make money but to reduce the “civilizational risk” censorship poses to democracy and freedom and to remove restrictions to free speech.
Despite his stated good intentions, Musk has lavishly praised the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) on various occasions.
Speaking in the “Daily Drive Podcast” in 2020, Musk said “China rocks in my opinion,” referring to one of the most censorious regimes in the world that routinely enslaves its own people. He also said that China is a “world leader in digitalization.”
In March 2021, Musk praised China’s climate plans during an appearance on CCP state television—despite the communist regime having recently ramped up its coal production, postponing its carbon reduction plans.
“I’d like to strike an optimistic note and I’m very confident that the future of China is going to be great and that China is headed towards being the biggest economy in the world and a lot of prosperity in the future,” the Tesla CEO told China Central Television in March 2021.
To Peter Navarro, former White House trade adviser under the Trump administration—what someone did is more important than what they say they will do.
“I don’t trust Elon Musk. I don’t trust him because he made a deal with the communist Chinese devil to produce his Tesla cars there. And he’s very vulnerable to the blackmail of the CCP,” Navarro, author of “In Trump Time,” told The Epoch Times.
“So having him take over Twitter … It’s not clear to me what his agenda is, I do know that he doesn’t care about American workers. He doesn’t care about concentration camps in Xinjiang province. He doesn’t care about the free people of Taiwan or the imprisoned people of Hong Kong. I was not overjoyed when Musk made that move,” Navarro added.
In January, two congressional panel chairmen on oversight and trade, Reps. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) and Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), criticized Musk in a joint letter for Musk’s expansion in Xinjiang, an area that has drawn attention due to its infamous slave labor camps.
“Your misguided expansion into the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region sets a poor example and further empowers the CCP,” the Democrats stated.
Around the same time, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) also chastised the electric car builder: “Nationless corporations are helping the Chinese Communist Party cover up genocide and slave labor in the region,” Rubio wrote on Twitter.
“On the last day of 2021, we meet in Xinjiang,” Musk wrote on Weibo, the Chinese Twitter-like platform. “In 2022, let’s start an all-electric journey in Xinjiang!” The post is accompanied by pictures of the opening ceremony, where people hold placards like “Tesla [heart] Xinjiang.”
From the CCP’s perspective, it has been worried about the ability of Tesla’s electric cars to gather data (each Tesla electric car has eight cameras and 12 ultrasonic sensors, as well as 360-degree vision to power autopilot) and has placed laws to tighten the domain of data, likely with the intention to dominate the AI race.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) said in a press conference on April 19 that he believes Musk is trying to liberate Twitter from being an “agent of censorship,” giving as examples the New York Post and Babylon Bee having been shut down from the platform.
“[Twitter was] censoring accounts like the Babylon Bee which is a satirical site. They don’t like it because it’s satire, but it cuts and they don’t like it [that] people are effective like that. So you saw how [censorship] had been really used to control the narrative, not to give the ability of people to speak their mind. They advertise themselves as being a platform dedicated to the free expression of ideas and yet, when you have a New York Post article about Hunter Biden, what do they do? They take it down, they lock the New York Post’s account,” DeSantis said.
“And so what Musk is trying to do is basically [liberate Twitter] from being an agent of censorship into making it an actual open platform like it’s advertised,” the governor further noted.
“The threat of blackmail is there with everybody. As between the way Twitter is being currently run and the way he would run it, I’m more comfortable with Musk. At least he seems to actually give a damn about the First Amendment,” Dundas told The Epoch Times.
“Elon Musk would be preferable to the current management scheme in terms of being less inclined to censor. And given his current station in life, I doubt anybody is going to bribe or blackmail him to go against his stated goals of protecting free speech. I believe the path provided under Musk’s direction would be a huge step forward, although frankly, it’s hard to envision a scenario right now more censorial than that which Dorsey created, which banned the leader of the free world while allowing known terrorist organizations like Hamas and the Ayatollah and Maduro to remain,” Dundas said.
Musk has previously stated that he is a socialist. Socialism, according to the Marxist doctrine, is the preliminary stage of communism.
“By the way, I am actually a socialist,” Musk wrote on Twitter in June 2018. “Just not the kind that shifts resources from most productive to least productive, pretending to do good, while actually causing harm. True socialism seeks greatest good for all.”
His ex-girlfriend and mother of two of his children, a Canadian singer that goes by “Grimes,” said previously in a TikTok video that artificial intelligence is “the fastest path to communism.”
Navarro, who was suspended from Twitter in 2021, believes that developing sources of true information is the key to combatting “fake news,” and that if Donald Trump becomes president in the next election, he will disperse the power of big tech’s social media platforms.
“When Donald Trump becomes president in January 2025, I think one of the first things he’ll do is a move to break up the social media companies and turn them into public utilities. They need to be dealt with. And I think they will be,” Navarro said.
Then-president Trump was completely banned from Twitter in January 2021.
A social media app named Truth Social—created by a company founded by Trump—is available on Apple’s app store, but is not yet fully operational.
Devin Nunes, a former lawmaker and current CEO of Truth Social, was asked in a recent interview on Fox News what he thought of Musk taking a stake in Twitter and joining its board.
Nunes responded that Trump’s intention in backing Truth Social was prompted by a desire to “open the internet back up so that the American people can get their voice back.”
“It’s clear that Twitter is kind of a ghost town, they desperately need Elon Musk to be there,” Nunes continued, adding that he thinks Musk probably “believes in free speech, like we do” and getting more involved in how Twitter is run is something Musk likely wants to do.
Tesla, Inc. did not respond to a request for comment.
Tom Ozimek contributed to this report.