Heavily-censored social media platform Twitter turned into a free speech party Monday after news broke that maverick billionaire and self-described “free speech absolutist” Elon Musk had successfully purchased the company for $44 billion.
Amid the return of previously banned conservative accounts including Fox News’ Tucker Carlson (who was banned for agreeing with a statement that a man who claims to be a woman is still a man), conservative users gleefully tested the waters by posting comments challenging the legitimacy of the 2020 election, slamming public health experts for lying about COVID-19, extolling the virtues of heavily-suppressed coronavirus treatments hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin, and debunking transgenderism.
The Daily Wire’s Michael Knowles deliberately experimented with the new moderation rules on Musk’s Twitter by posting a series of tweets expressing mainstream conservative opinions that might have gotten him booted from the platform just a day earlier.
“The 2020 presidential election was obviously rigged,” Knowles wrote, adding in another tweet, “Public health officials lied repeatedly about COVID-19.”
“Ivermectin is a wonder drug,” the author and podcaster also posted, affirming in another that, contrary to the opinions of activists and “experts,” “[t]ransgenderism isn’t a real category of being.”
Knowles wasn’t the only one having fun on the platform following Musk’s takeover.
Erick Aguilar, a Republican congressional candidate in Florida, said he was “testing the Twitter freedom” by posting six controversial statements that could have gotten him banned prior to Musk’s purchase:
Republican Arizona state Sen. Wendy Rogers simply wrote: “TRUMP WON.”
Newly liberated users even got #Ivermectin trending on the social media platform.
The response from the left has been less than enthusiastic, however, as liberals decried the loosening of content moderation rules to open up free speech.
Several weeks before Musk successfully purchased Twitter, author Max Boot opined, “For democracy to survive, we need more content moderation, not less.”
“Imagine being mad about being free to say whatever you want?” quipped conservative podcaster Benny Johnson.
Other conservative Twitter users have joked about the negative responses from leftists who worry that Musk’s plan to open up free speech on the platform could lead to the spread of dangerous “misinformation.”
“People who think men can get pregnant are suddenly concerned about misinformation on Twitter,” remarked one user.
MSNBC host Ari Melber drew widespread derision and amusement for worrying that under its new ownership, Twitter “could secretly ban one party’s candidate, or all of its candidates, all of its nominees, or you could just secretly turn down the reach of their stuff and turn up the reach of something else and the rest of us might not even find out about it until after the election.” (ER: oh, the irony)
The banning of political figures and censorship of politically damning material have been among the primary reasons Twitter has come under fire from conservatives. For example, the social media company deplatformed former President Donald Trump and squashed the New York Post’s story about Hunter Biden’s laptop.
“There is truly nothing funnier than this MSNBC host ranting about what Elon Musk could do to Twitter, and accidentally giving a perfect description of how Twitter has actually operated for the last five years,” remarked Daily Wire Senior Editor Cabot Phillips.
Meanwhile, Tucker Carlson wasn’t the only banned personality to return to the platform following the transfer of ownership to Elon Musk.
Anti-lockdown group Truckers For Freedom, which had been banned from Twitter, also returned Monday after the buyout, according to Fox Business.
Many social media users have clamored for the reinstatement of other banned accounts since the transfer of ownership, including the Christian satire site The Babylon Bee and Donald Trump.
Trump was permanently banned from the platform while still the sitting president of the United States shortly after the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021.
In a decision sure to disappoint many, however, Trump has stated that despite the new ownership he will not be returning to Twitter. Instead, he will remain on Truth Social, the platform he launched last year.
On Tuesday podcaster Benny Johnson suggested that even though Trump doesn’t plan to use his Twitter account, “Elon Musk should restore” it anyway since “Free Speech on Twitter starts with righting previous wrongs.”
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