Billionaire Elon Musk’s courtship of Twitter is nearing a dramatic resolution this week as the social media company’s board negotiates control of its platform with the tech entrepreneur.
Mr. Musk and Twitter’s board talked into Monday’s early hours, according to media reports, after Mr. Musk said last week he secured the financing needed to purchase Twitter.
Opponents of Mr. Musk’s takeover attempt renewed their objections Monday after rumors swirled that a deal was imminent between Twitter and the electric vehicle and space technology tycoon. Mr. Musk was a leading topic of conversation on Twitter’s platform as his critics posted messages with “#RIPTwitter” forecasting the end of the platform as users know it.
“I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter, because that is what free speech means,” Mr. Musk said in a tweet on Monday.
Mr. Musk said in a regulatory filing last week that he gathered approximately $46.5 billion to buy Twitter, including using money from Morgan Stanley and other banks secured by his large stake in Tesla, the electric vehicle manufacturer.
Mr. Musk’s moves in recent days have won him support from prominent Republicans, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Rep. Darrell Issa of California.
SEE ALSO: Liberal group suggests Twitter cut a deal with Musk to keep Trump off platform
“@elonmusk’s offer to buy Twitter is a good deal for shareholders and raises the prospect that the platform will be a place where free speech can thrive, not a tool for narrative enforcement,” Mr. DeSantis said on Twitter on Monday.
Mr. Issa said he stood with Mr. Musk, and he called on Twitter to do the same.
Liberal opponents of Mr. Musk are concerned about possible changes to Twitter’s rules for digital censorship and the potential return of former President Donald Trump, who was banned by Twitter after the Jan. 6, 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol. Media Matters for America President Angelo Carusone said Monday that a sale of Twitter to Mr. Musk would be a “victory for disinformation.”
“Twitter’s board of directors must recognize that if Musk is successful, Donald Trump, who had been banned from the platform for repeated violations of terms of service and incitement to violence, will almost certainly be replatformed in weeks,” Mr. Carusone said in a statement. “Other extremists and white supremacists will also likely have their accounts restored too.”
Mr. Carusone also said that Mr. Musk taking control of Twitter would undoubtedly let loose conspiracy theories and pollute the information ecosystem with hate and lies.
Liberal women’s advocacy group Ultraviolet also warned Monday about a widespread negative impact if Mr. Musk had a say in Twitter’s business operations.
“Twitter would revert into a more dangerous place for women,” said Bridget Todd, Ultraviolet spokesperson, in a statement. “Harassment and threats of violence online, especially against Black women and women of color, would skyrocket. Donald Trump would likely be replatformed, where he could continue spreading disinformation, proliferating baseless conspiracy theories, and inciting more violence to millions of people.”
Investors examining the buzz surrounding Twitter appear to disagree that a takeover by Mr. Musk is bad news — shares of Twitter rose more than 5% during trading on Monday.
Twitter did not respond to request for comment on Monday.
• Associated Press wire reporting contributed to this article.