Twitter Is Already Inflammatory — Musk’s Acquisition Won’t Change That


It appears that Elon Musk may actually be buying Twitter, whether he is eager to or not. (Courtesy of Twitter/Pia Fischetti)

It appears that Elon Musk may actually be buying Twitter, whether he is eager to or not. While Musk has promised to get rid of censorship and bring about an “era of free speech” on the platform, some are concerned that Twitter will become a cesspool of harassment and misinformation. However, I believe that this environment already exists on Twitter, and Musk changing the rules won’t make it any worse.

The question of whether Musk will actually go through with buying Twitter remains. While the court proceedings are going to force him to complete his end of the deal, this process is part of a familiar pattern of Musk pulling elaborate publicity stunts. For instance, the Tesla Cybertruck was supposed to be produced a full year ago, but has been delayed to late next year after it was showcased in 2019 in a less than optimal state. Even if he’s forced to buy Twitter, it’s unclear as to whether or not he would change the terms and conditions. Doing so could hurt Twitter’s profitability, and considering he’s taking it private, this move would not be ideal for a $44 billion investment, which is roughly a sixth of his net worth.

Let’s assume for a second that Musk does change the terms and conditions. In my mind, this switch changes virtually nothing. All of the issues that people claim will occur on Twitter already exist. 

For instance, Twitter as a platform has been used to hurl death threats, with Twitter practically condoning death threats against Russian officials and soldiers. While they might not be the group most worthy of protection, it signals that Twitter will not stop such actions against those they deem to be morally reprehensible. 

Beyond death threats, groups use Twitter to harass whoever has offended them, going as far as leaking celebrity home addresses to further encourage the harassment of whoever has “wronged” them. 

According to research from MIT, misinformation is more likely to spread on Twitter than through traditional media outlets, something that is already a persistent problem on the platform. For instance, the conspiracy theory that COVID-19 was caused by 5G cell towers was spread on Twitter; those tweets are still available for people to see. Additionally, the idea that the pandemic was orchestrated by the New World Order, referred to as the “plandemic,” started on Twitter. This spread of misinformation extends to more lighthearted topics. A rumor that Drake was in a relationship with Kim Kardashian started on Twitter, which could have had an impact on their personal lives.  

The greater issue is that no one at Twitter wants to fix the spread of misinformation. Quite simply, Twitter profits from hate and misinformation. If more people are using Twitter to dox individuals they don’t like and people are logging on to interact with it, Twitter can push ads on more people. If an outrageous article is blowing up on Twitter, that’s simply more people to collect data on. 

Acknowledging the harm that Twitter causes prompts the question: Is it in the interest of society to keep Twitter alive as it is? Stan culture grows like bacteria on Twitter, with fans unhealthily obsessing over their favorite artists, treating them like gods, attacking anyone who believes otherwise. Additionally, the Supreme Leader of Iran has been defended by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey in Congress for tweeting threats of genocide and anti-semitism. If Musk buys all Twitter stocks, takes the company private and implements his own new rules, what do we actually lose? Everyone who holds stock gets a guaranteed profit from the higher price per stock than on the market. The software engineers working at Twitter will finally get their inflated severance packages. We as a society will cut off a source of negativity from our daily lives. All but one person loses, and that one person has a lot to lose.

Maybe Musk will buy Twitter, implement the changes he has been calling for and make all of the misinformation and harassment worse by inviting the worst of society to have a very loud voice. That’s fine by me. I only need 25 characters to say “Goodbye and good riddance” to another big tech company that controls millions of people’s lives.

Owen Sibal, FCRH ’26, is a political science major from Richmond, V.A.