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Twitter must be politically neutral to deserve public trust, says new owner Elon Musk

Tesla Chief Elon Musk, who has just bought Twitter for $44 billion, has said that the microblogging site must be politically neutral to deserve public trust

Tesla Chief Elon Musk, who has just bought Twitter for $44 billion, has said that the microblogging site must be politically neutral to deserve public trust.

"For Twitter to deserve public trust, it must be politically neutral, which effectively means upsetting the far right and the far left equally," Musk tweeted.

Musk also tweeted: “Twitter DMs should have end to end encryption like Signal, so no one can spy on or hack your messages,” giving an indication of what he has in mind for the microblogging site going ahead.

Meanwhile, former CEO of Twitter Jack Dorsey posted a series of tweets in support of Musk.

"In principle, I don't believe anyone should own or run Twitter. It wants to be a public good at a protocol level, not a company. Solving for the problem of it being a company, however, Elon is the singular solution I trust. I trust his mission to extend the light of consciousness," Dorsey tweeted.

Dorsey, the co-founder and de facto boss of Twitter had resigned as CEO of the company in November2021 and Parag Agarwal, an IIT alumnus was chief technology officer of the microblogging platform had replaced him.

The change was seen as Dorsey’s move to put up a new face to deal with the regulators who were building up the heat over lack of control on hate speech and sex abuse on social media platforms. Dorsey in fact continued to be perceived as the real boss of the company.

Musk has criticized Twitter's moderation, calling himself a free speech absolutist, said that Twitter's algorithm for prioritizing tweets should be public, and has criticized giving too much power on the service to corporations that advertise.

"Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated," Musk said in a statement.

"I also want to make Twitter better than ever by enhancing the product with new features, making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating the spam bots and authenticating all humans," he added.

Republican lawmakers welcomed news that Elon Musk, who calls himself a free speech absolutist, was purchasing Twitter Inc, but Democrats slammed it as a sign that more needed to be done to rein in Big Tech, according to a Reuters report.

Political activists expect that a Musk regime will mean less moderation and reinstatement of banned individuals including former President Donald Trump, the report said.

Conservatives cheered the prospect of fewer controls while some human rights activists voiced fears of a rise in hate speech.

Musk himself has described as user-friendly tweaks to the service, such as an edit button and defeating "spam bots" that send overwhelming amounts of unwanted tweets.

The White House declined to comment on Musk's deal to buy Twitter, but said that President Joe Biden has long been concerned about the power of social media platforms, including Twitter and others, to spread misinformation"

The White House continues to advocate for revoking Section 230, a law that shields online companies from liability over content posted by users, and supports ramping up anti-trust and transparency enforcement on technology companies, said White House spokesperson Jen Psaki.

Biden administration officials think tougher scrutiny could prevent the spreading of false information on political issues and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Also read: Elon Musk mounts $43 billion hostile bid to buy Twitter