Back in April, Elon Musk reached an agreement to acquire Twitter. More recently, Musk has declared the deal “temporarily on hold,” while Twitter has indicated that they will push to hold Musk to the deal at the agreed-upon price.
Now, a group of activists has launched an effort to stop Musk from taking over Twitter, with a website called StoptheDeal.com. The site comes adorned with a logo of birds, in the style of Twitter’s logo, circling Musk’s head.
“Elon Musk’s plans for Twitter threaten users, society, and democracy," the website says. The site encourages supporters of the effort to tweet at Twitter advertisers, Tesla shareholders, and at Musk himself. The organizers of the campaign have also been tweeting about it since the launch of the site, and also offering a petition in support of the campaign.
According to CNBC, “a dozen advocacy groups” are behind the StopTheDeal effort, including Accountable Tech, Center for Countering Digital Hate, GLAAD, and MediaJustice. Also involved are the Center for Countering Digital Hate, Friends of the Earth, Move On, Public Citizen, and UltraViolet, described on the website as “many organizations fighting for a healthier information ecosystem.”
“Elon Musk would steamroll basic content moderation safeguards and provide a megaphone to extremists who traffic in white nationalism, hate, disinformation, and harassment—further endangering marginalized communities,” the site said. “Elon Musk would reinstate Twitter accounts of public figures who were banned for inciting violence and spreading dangerous disinformation.”
Musk said in May that he would reinstate former President Donald Trump to Twitter, after Trump was permanently banned from the platform shortly after the January 6, 2021, Capitol insurrection. Trump, however, has said that he would not return to Twitter even if reinstated, as he now uses Truth Social for his primary social media communications.
“Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter will not lead to more ‘free speech on the platform,” Rahna Epting, executive director of MoveOn, said in a separate statement, as published by CNBC. “It will simply lead to more extreme voices exploiting the platform to stoke hate, violence, and harassment. Social media platforms that are nothing more than toxic cesspools of disinformation are harmful to our society and our politics.”
The site also argues against “unaccountable billionaires” owning “ such a large part of our information ecosystem.”
The organizers told CNBC that they hope for the government to block the deal, with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) possibly stepping in. The SEC, which has frequently tangled with Musk over the years, is known to be looking into the deal. Another federal agency, the Federal Trade Commission, could also intervene to block the deal.
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.