As of April 14, 2022, Elon Musk, the C.E.O of Tesla bought Twitter for forty-four million dollars. Musk said, “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.” Twitter is used by 200 million people every day. These people now can use the platform as a platform for free speech. According to National Public Radio, “Musk has argued that the social networks should not remove comments that, while offensive, are still legal.” Recently Twitter has banned any form of harassment posts to could harm someone. Experts who study social networks are worried that “relaxing the rules on Twitter will empower those looking to exploit the platform by spreading misinformation, or flat-out lies, about political events, government officials and matters related to public health and safety.” (npr)
So why are college students against Elon Musk running Twitter? A poll done by Axios says that six in ten college students say they don’t want Elon Musk to own Twitter. Apparently, students don’t share the same views as Musk does when it comes to free speech. 76% say people can express themselves freely on Twitter.
(below is poll results done by Axios)
- Compared to TikTok, Instagram and Facebook, students say they have more trust in Twitter (12%) to make wise decisions about important things — although the bigger picture is still grim. 77% trust none of the companies listed.
- Twice as many say they have concerns about Facebook and TikTok than about Twitter.
Like the country writ large, opinions about Musk owning Twitter still divide steeply along partisan fault lines, although the male-female split is nearly as stark.
- 69% of Republicans and 65% of men want Musk to do so, compared to 22% of Democrats and 29% of women.
- 57% of Republicans and and 57% of men say they like Elon Musk. These were the only two sub-groups with positive favorability among any of the five billionaires we asked about.
The bottom line: Students view Twitter a bit less negatively than the other major social media platforms.
- 12% said it has made their life worse, compared to 16% for Facebook, 16% for Instagram and 18% for TikTok.
- Overall, social media is playing a more negative role in their lives. 48% have enjoyed it less over the past few years, while 21% have enjoyed it more.