When we first learned that Elon Musk had become the biggest shareholder at Twitter, there was a flurry of excitement amongst Trump supporters, who thought that Musk, a devout supporter of free speech, might get Trump reinstated on the big tech social media platform.
“Now that @ElonMusk is Twitter’s largest shareholder, it’s time to lift the political censorship,” Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) tweeted. “Oh… and BRING BACK TRUMP!” She was hardly alone, of course, but Twitter brass quickly threw cold water on the idea that Trump might get reinstated.
“Our policy decisions are not determined by the board or shareholders, and we have no plans to reverse any policy decisions,” Twitter said in a statement. “As always, our board plays an important advisory and feedback role across the entirety of our service. Our day-to-day operations and decisions are made by Twitter management and employees.”
Musk was then appointed to Twitter’s board of directors, which would have prevented him from buying more stock.
But, do you think Musk would be satisfied just being the company’s largest shareholder and powerless to fix the problems plaguing the company? For sure, Musk has bigger goals than just being a shareholder. As PJM’s Stephen Kruiser noted at the time, “Yes, it’s a passive stake, which, in theory, means he won’t be influencing the company, but this is still a bold move. Musk really doesn’t do anything passively.”
He was right. Not only did Musk turn them down, he decided that the only way to fix Twitter was to own it outright. On Thursday morning, Musk revealed he made an offer to buy Twitter. “Twitter has extraordinary potential,” Musk wrote in his SEC filing. “I will unlock it.”
I don’t doubt that he will, and if he is able to buy the company, I think he could do great things with it. He might even let Donald Trump back on the platform.
But, would Donald Trump be interested? Trump actually dismissed the idea of returning to Twitter in an interview with Americano Media. “I probably wouldn’t have any interest,” Trump said. “Twitter’s become very boring. They’ve gotten rid of a lot of good voices on Twitter, a lot of their conservative voices.”
He’s right that many conservatives, myself included, have been banned from Twitter for offending the very delicate sensibilities of its leftist users. Though I wouldn’t be opposed to using it again if I were reinstated under a Musk regime, Trump is absolutely right to say he won’t come back. He’s launched his own social media platform now, called Truth Social, and going back to Twitter would be just about the worst thing for it. Truth Social has had enough problems to deal with since its troubled launch. The fact is, Musk taking over Twitter, and making it a platform that isn’t hostile to different points of view, makes Truth Social and other Twitter alternatives less necessary. If Musk is able to buy Twitter, Trump using Truth Social is likely the only thing that would save it from becoming irrelevant.
So, Trump is definitely making the right move by dismissing the idea that he’ll return to Twitter, but he has to start using Truth Social–otherwise, his social media platform will go nowhere.