“I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter, because that is what free speech means,” he wrote in a Twitter post.
Musk has repeatedly called for the removal of some of Twitter’s content moderation rules that critics have said are tantamount to political censorship.
“Is someone you don’t like allowed to say something you don’t like? And if that is the case, then we have free speech,” Musk told a TED conference in an interview in April.
After it was announced that Musk, who is estimated to be worth around $270 billion, would purchase Twitter for $44 billion, he issued a statement saying that “free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square.” That Twitter post was his first since the deal was hashed out.
Musk said that he wants to “make Twitter better” by incorporating innovative features and making its algorithms open source in a bid to “increase trust” among its userbase. What’s more, he added that Twitter under his leadership will attempt to curb spam bots and “authenticating all humans” who use the platform.
I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter, because that is what free speech means
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 25, 2022
Before the deal was made, Musk stressed that he wants to boost free speech on Twitter and “unlock” the company’s “extraordinary potential.”
“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 in his offer letter to Twitter earlier this month. “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.”
Shares rose 6 percent following the news to $51.90. The deal represents a nearly 40 percent premium to the closing price the day before Musk disclosed he had bought a more than 9 percent stake. Even so, the offer is below the $70 range where Twitter was trading last year.
The transaction was approved by Twitter’s board and is now subject to a shareholder vote. No regulatory hurdles are expected, analysts said.
In a prepared statement the company said Musk secured $25.5 billion of debt and margin loan financing and is providing a $21 billion equity commitment.
Reuters contributed to this report.