Elon Musk struck a $44 billion deal to buy Twitter on Monday. News of the new owner has led to a lot of discussion about who will stay on (or return to) the social media app – now set to become a privately-held company by the end of this year.
The Tesla CEO and billionaire, who has referred to himself as a “free speech absolutist,” calls for policies that might favor leaving up most tweets and some extremist accounts on the platform – bringing into question what Musk’s ownership will mean for previously suspended users.
Former President Donald Trump, who Twitter permanently banned following the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, said on Monday that he would not return to the app, even with Musk as the new owner. Instead, he will formally join his own Truth Social app in the coming days, Trump told Fox News on Monday.
As of Monday, Fox News’ Tucker Carlson and Mark Levin have returned to the app.
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Meanwhile, some prominent names shared that they would be leaving Twitter in light of Musk’s deal – including actress Jameela Jamil. Others, such as activist and author Amy Siskind, said that they are also considering leaving the app.
“People need to understand that this is no longer a public company,” Siskind tweeted on Monday. “Every post you make here is free content to enrich one man, Elon Musk.”
Musk’s acquisition comes almost five months after founder and CEO Jack Dorsey stepped aside as CEO and named Parag Agrawal as his replacement. Both Dorsey and Agrawal have shared endorsements for Musk’s takeover.
“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 on Monday.
Here’s a list of who’s leaving, returning to or criticizing Twitter after the Musk takeover.
Who’s returning to Twitter?
Tucker Carlson on March 2, 2017, in New York.
Fox News’ Tucker Carlson returned to Twitter hours after Musk’s deal was finalized. Carlson was suspended from Twitter in March, after violating the platform’s rules for hateful content. Tweets from the Babylon Bee and Charlie Kirk referred to Assistant Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine – who is a transgender woman – as a “man” and, in a now-deleted Tweet, Carlson insisted that both posts were “true.”
As Musk’s deal is not yet complete, it is unclear if Carlson’s suspension ended because of the new owner.
Mark R. Levin.
Mark Levin, host of syndicated radio show “The Mark Levin Show” and “Life, Liberty & Levin” on Fox News, also returned to Twitter on Monday – for the first time since Jan. 2021.
Levin was not banned from Twitter, but he suspended his own account in Jan. 2021 “in protest against Twitter’s fascism.” “Thanks to new ownership, I’ve decided to come back!” Levin tweeted on Monday.
Azealia Banks performs at the 2015 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, Calif. She makes her film debut in RZA’s ‘Love Beats Rhymes’ this week.
Twitter has suspended Rapper Azealia Banks multiple times. In 2016, Banks was suspended following reported racist and homophobic tweets directed to Zayn Malik. She was also suspended in 2020 for a series of transphobic tweets.
Following Musk’s Monday acquisition, Banks took to her Instagram Stories on Tuesday, writing, “I actually *have* to thank Elon for buying twitter, I actually got back on…..” She also detailed her experience being banned, calling Dorsey “racist AF” and writing about “his plot to capitalize off the first Black Lives Matter movement.”
On Instagram, Banks posted a screenshot of what appeared to be a new Twitter handle early Tuesday, which is not verified on the platform yet.
U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene sits in the courtroom, Friday, April 22, 2022, in Atlanta. Rep. Greene is appearing at a hearing Friday in Atlanta in a challenge filed by voters who say she shouldn’t be allowed to seek reelection because she helped facilitate the attack on the Capitol that disrupted certification of Joe Biden’s presidential victory.(AP Photo/John Bazemore, Pool)
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene
Twitter permanently suspended Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s personal account in early January for repeated violations of the social media platform’s COVID-19 misinformation policy.
After Musk’s deal was finalized on Monday, Greene used her Congressional account, which is still active, to share screenshots of the five tweets flagged for misinformation that lead to the banning of her personal account. She then wrote, “My personal freedom of speech was violated on this platform along with an unknown number of Americans, and I want my personal account back.”
As of Tuesday, Greene’s personal account has not returned.
Who’s leaving Twitter?
“The Good Place” actress Jameela Jamil, 33, poses for a portrait in New York.
“The Good Place” actress, writer and activist Jameela Jamil wrote her “last tweet” on Monday.
“Ah [Musk] got twitter. I would like this to be my what lies here as my last tweet,” Jamil tweeted. “I fear this free speech bid is going to help this hell platform reach its final form of totally lawless hate, bigotry, and misogyny. Best of luck.”
See celebrity reactions:Jameela Jamil posts her ‘last tweet,’ Ice-T jokes Musk should shut Twitter down
Who has criticized Musk’s acquisition?
It was reported that activist Shaun King deleted his Twitter account Monday, after tweeting, “At its root, @ElonMusk wanting to purchase Twitter is not about left vs right. It’s about white power…. He’s upset that Twitter won’t allow white nationalists to target/harass people. That’s his definition of free speech.”
King has continued to tweet Tuesday, confirming that he didn’t delete his account. King has since shared articles detailing racism and civil rights lawsuits at Tesla.
In addition to Siskind, others shared that they were considering leaving the app – including actor and wrestler Mick Foley.
“I’ll be giving some serious thought to leaving @Twitter for good in the near future,” Foley wrote on Monday. “I do not have a good feeling about where this platform is heading.”
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Still, some celebrities noted why they plan to stay.
“I’m not going anywhere,” tweeted “Star Trek” actor and activist George Takei. “Should this place become more toxic, I pledge to strive even harder to lift up reason, science, compassion and the rule of law. The struggle against fascism, misinformation, and hate requires tough fighters. I hope you stay in the fight, right beside me.”
Many also pointed to to the enormous price tag on Musk’s acquisition deal – stressing that $44 billion could have impacted the world in a multitude of other ways.
“Just a thought–next time we have $44 billion laying around, can we please spend it to solve the pandemic, climate change, hunger, poverty, and malnutrition?” wrote Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding, founder of World Health Network.