A few celebrities have announced their departure from Twitter following its acquisition by Elon Musk. Toni Braxton, Shonda Rhimes and others have said that due to the many changes in the app, they will be leaving the social media platform for good.
“Don’t hang around for everything Elon has planned. Goodbye,” tweeted Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal designer Rhimes on Saturday.
Seven-time Grammy winner Toni Braxton said, “I’m shocked and appalled at some of the ‘freedom of speech’ I’ve seen on this platform since its acquisition. Hate speech under the veil of “freedom of expression” is unacceptable; therefore, I choose to stay off of Twitter as it is no longer a safe space for me, my sons, and other POCs.
The Tesla and SpaceX CEO announced on Thursday (October 27) that he had officially purchased the 16-year-old social platform for $44 billion. Upon his purchase, Musk began ticking things off his to-do list, including ousting senior Twitter executives, including trust and safety chief Vijaya Gadde. It also announced that it would charge users $8 per month to have a “blue check” verification. The final straw for most was his announcement that Twitter would allow uncensored “freedom of speech,” which could encourage misinformation or hate speech. Musk has unabashedly declared himself a “free speech absolutist”.
“The danger here is that in the name of ‘free speech,’ Musk will backtrack and make Twitter a more powerful engine of hate, division and misinformation about elections, public health policy and business. international,” said Paul. Barrett, deputy director of the NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights.
The world’s richest man said in a statement to Twitter advertisers on Sunday (October 30) that Twitter “obviously cannot become a free-for-all hellscape.” He also described his reasoning for acquiring the platform as wanting to create “a common digital public square where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy way, without resorting to violence.”
Twitter has made no immediate policy change announcements at the time of publication. Musk changed his Twitter bio to “Chief Twit” and made his location “Twitter HQ.” On Friday, Oct. 28, Musk said Twitter would form a “content moderation board with widely diverse views” and “no major content or account reinstatement decisions will be made until this board meets.”
In April, the 51-year-old said, “I also want to make Twitter better than ever by improving the product with new features, making algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating spambots and authenticating all humans. Twitter has enormous potential – I look forward to working with the company and the user community to unlock it.