Tesla CEO Elon Musk took to Twitter on Saturday, asking if a new social media platform should be created to challenge Twitter and sparking speculation that the billionaire might be the one to do so.
In a series of tweets on Friday, the Space X founder asked if it’s time for a new platform to replace Twitter and if users think the company is “adhering to the principles of free speech.”
He said that because Twitter serves as a “mailman’s square,” a failure to promote free speech on the app would undermine democracy.
In a response to his own thread on Saturday, which sparked speculation, Musk wrote, “Is a new platform needed?”
“Freedom of expression is essential to the functioning of a democracy,” he wrote the day before, Friday. “Do you believe that Twitter strictly adheres to this principle?
Just over 70% of the more than 2 million people polled said “no” to Musk’s Twitter poll.
In a follow-up tweet, the tech mogul wrote that “the consequences of this poll will be significant” and he urged respondents to “vote with caution”.
Elon Musk (pictured right) has long been a vocal advocate of free speech, calling himself a “free speech absolutist”. He sparked speculation he would launch a new social media app after asking his followers if Twitter ‘adheres to the principles of free speech’
He also asked his 80 million followers on Friday whether Twitter’s algorithm should be open-source, which would provide insight into how the microblogging app chooses what to show users in their flows.
Three-quarters of respondents said it should.
Twitter founder Jack Dorsey was quick to respond to the blow, tweeting that “the choice of which algorithm to use (or not) should be open to everyone.”
Musk responded directly to a follower who said Twitter was not presenting both sides of the political debate fairly.
“If you are a leftist who threatens conservatives with death. or stage a riot, Twitter respects your freedom of speech,” @Cernovich wrote. “Twitter also respects free speech for media pranks, like when all the major media outlets framed an innocent high school student from Covington.”
“That doesn’t seem very balanced,” Musk replied.
He also responded to a user suggesting Musk use a dogecoin as the logo for the new platform, saying he liked the idea.
Previously, the CEO of India-based social media platform Koo, Aprameya Radhakrishnan, invited Musk to join the platform, attempting to entice the Tesla founder with a description of his decentralized approach.
Musk has long been a vocal advocate of free speech, calling himself a “free speech absolutist.” Earlier this month, he tweeted that Starlink had been approached to block Russian news sources, but the internet provider would not.
He repeatedly called out mainstream media companies to muzzle users with certain viewpoints and present polarizing information.
Musk’s poll drew a mixed response. While most respondents agreed that Twitter was not doing enough to protect free speech, some users pointed out that as a private company, Twitter has the right to manage content as good seems to him.
“Stop it man,” @JashSmash wrote. ‘Twitter is not the government. The First Amendment only applies to the government.
Podcast host Eric Weinstein wrote that Musk was addressing “a particular type of analytical problem” that has been prevented in each previous attempt from working by multiple challenges rather than “lack of desire.”
“We have to invent something that fills this space that doesn’t exist…yet,” Weinstein wrote.
Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games, responded that we don’t need a new platform – new protocols are needed.
‘To hell with the platforms! We need a protocol so many companies can make customers without becoming our new overlord,’ he tweeted.