Elon Musk Questions If a New Social Media Platform Is ‘Needed’

by Suzanne Halliburton
JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images

Elon Musk, the world’s richest man, pondered Saturday whether the world needs a new social media platform. And because he has 79 million followers, his tweets about the subject started all sorts of buzz.

He already owns Tesla and SpaceX. Might Musk be thinking about adding another project? Like a reimagining of Twitter? Hear that rumbling?

The 4-1-1 on Elon Musk and His Social Media Musings

  • Musk declared Twitter as “de facto public town square.”
  • He asked whether social media was doing enough to defend free speech
  • Followers suggested he buy Twitter or create a new company.

As they say, let’s go to the tweets.

First, Musk posted a poll. That was Friday. Then he asked some questions Saturday.

“Free speech is essential to a functioning democracy. Do you believe Twitter rigorously adheres to this principle? “

And then he added: “Given that Twitter serves as the de facto public town square, failing to adhere to free speech principles fundamentally undermines democracy. What should be done?”

For an extra hint, he wrote: “Is a new platform needed?” Musk pinned that Tweet to the top of his profile.

More than 70 Percent of Poll Participants Gave Twitter a Thumbs Down

His followers still were participating in the poll. By Saturday night, Musk had more than 2 million people voting, with more than 70 percent saying that Twitter doesn’t adhere to free speech. Musk further teased: “The consequences of this poll will be important. Please vote carefully.”

If Elon Musk jumps into the social media game, maybe he should look at the companies who dabbled before him.

Gab came online in 2016 as a “free speech social network.” Parler launched in 2018, marketing itself towards conservatives who believe Big Tech wants to silence them. Then Jason Miller, a former advisor to Donald Trump, started Gettr, You also can hop on Telegram and Rumble.

And earlier this year, Trump launched Truth Social. The former president used to love Twitter. But Twitter, Facebook and Instagram kicked Trump off their platforms in January 2021, following the rioting at the Capitol to overturn the election.

Truth Social went live with a soft launch on Feb. 21 to coincide with President’s Day. But Trump doesn’t even use it, as yet. His first post “Get ready! Your favorite president will see you soon.”

After Twitter banned him, Trump started issuing statements and emailing them to the media. Then reporters started quoting his statements on Twitter.

So let’s get back to Elon Musk and social media. After Musk posted, some of his followers encouraged him to buy Twitter. The social media company has a market cap of about $30 billion.

Jenna Ellis, one of Trump’s lawyers, replied to Musk: “Rivals will never be able to compete effectively. Buy it and run it with actual public forum and free speech principles. Preserve genuine debate and the right to disagree.”

The account for Sleeping Giants, a campaign for social platform for responsibility, wrote:

“It’s not a public square. It’s an advertising platform, it’s a data mining operation, it’s a business, but it ain’t a public square, boss. Start your own. You have enough dough to do it.”