A year after Elon Musk first made his intentions clear about buying Twitter, the CEO of the satire website that may have helped sway the billionaire’s purchase praised how the Tesla chief brought free speech back to the social media giant.
Twitter suspended the Babylon Bee for tweeting a headline naming U. S. Assistant Secretary for Health Dr. Rachel Levine, who is transgender, “Man of the Year” for 2022. Musk contacted the Bee CEO Seth Dillon soon after.
“He wanted to confirm that we had, in fact, been suspended,” Dillon tweeted after the call. “He even mused on that call that he might need to buy Twitter. Now he’s the largest shareholder and has a seat on the board.”
Dillon told Fox News he thinks the Bee’s ban had a role in Musk’s decision, though many factors were likely in play.
“He was clearly bothered by the fact that we had been locked out of Twitter,” Dillon said. “And so, you know, I certainly wouldn’t say that it was the only reason that he spent $44 billion to acquire Twitter and make it a free speech platform. But maybe it was the icing on the cake.”
Dillon said the Bee’s ban was symptomatic of Twitter’s larger problem of banning accounts that pushed views the platform deemed offensive.
“It was an egregious example of how speech was being curbed,” Dillon said.
Musk’s ex-wife Talulah Riley told the Tesla CEO about the Bee’s suspension on March 24, 2022, calling it “crazy,” documents from a court case regarding Musk’s Twitter purchase show. Riley encouraged Musk to buy Twitter and to make it “radically free-speech.”
In April 2022, Musk announced that he made an offer to purchase Twitter and took over in October following a legal battle after the Tesla CEO attempted to exit the deal.
Meanwhile, since Dillon refused to delete the Levine tweet, the Bee’s Twitter account was left inactive until Musk was in power.
“I woke up and read a story in The Washington Post saying that Elon Musk, on his first day as CEO of Twitter, walked in the office and issued an urgent directive, bringing back the Babylon Bee,” Dillon told Fox News.
“He wants it to be a platform where you’re allowed to say things that are unpopular, where you’re allowed to say things that are offensive,” Dillon added. “He definitely wants it to be a free place where ideas are debated.”
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Critics of Musk’s free speech policies claim that without restrictions, hatred spreads on the platform. The Anti-Defamation League, for example, claimed the social media giant isn’t curbing antisemitic content.
Musk reached out to us before he polled his followers about Twitter's commitment to free speech. He wanted to confirm that we had, in fact, been suspended. He even mused on that call that he might need to buy Twitter. Now he's the largest shareholder and has a seat on the board.— Seth Dillon (@SethDillon) April 5, 2022
I made an offer https://t.co/VvreuPMeLu— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 14, 2022
The Babylon Bee has been generating as many impressions on Twitter as it does on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube combined. Thanks for letting us back onto this "dying" platform, @elonmusk.— Seth Dillon (@SethDillon) March 27, 2023
This platform is growing fast!— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 18, 2023
Just exceeded 8 billion user-minutes per day … of the most influential, smartest people on Earth ?
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