Several human rights NGOs have joined forces in the hope of preventing Elon Musk from buying Twitter, for fear that the multi-billionaire will allow toxic behavior to explode on the platform. “If we don’t block this operation, he will give a megaphone to demagogues and extremists, who (…) incite hatred, violence and harassment”, Nicole Gill, executive director of Accountable Tech, said in a statement Friday. This association, which campaigns to hold large digital companies accountable, and a dozen others, want to put pressure on the authorities, shareholders and advertisers.
In particular, they call on regulators to “look closely” the controversial project of the boss of Tesla, who has already had numerous disputes with the American stock market policeman (SEC). The coalition also intends “mobilize shareholders”, “made very vulnerable” speak “erratic behavior of Elon Musk”, NGOs argue. They remind us that the Tesla share “lost about a third of its value” since early April. Among other many twists and turns, the entrepreneur indicated in mid-May suspending the acquisition at 44 billion dollars, the time to obtain guarantees on spam, before returning to his remarks a few hours later.
At the end of May, Twitter shareholders filed a complaint against Elon Musk. They accuse him of having manipulated the market to save money in his acquisition operation. The SEC then revealed that it had asked the leader for explanations in early April about his rise in the capital of Twitter. NGOs also hope to rally brands, sensitive to content moderation, which guarantees a politically correct environment for their advertisements. “The campaign will try to make the transaction financially unviable by targeting major Twitter advertisers who are essential to the company’s revenue”they explain.
“Elon is already facing an employee revolt, nervous advertisers and endless headaches for his bullshit ideas about destroying the platform’s rules, not to mention financial challenges and pressure from regulators”, tweeted Jesse Lehrich, co-founder of Accountable Tech. Elon Musk said he wanted to free speech on Twitter, which he considers a fundamental public place for democracies. He associates current content moderation with a form of censorship, like many elected Republicans. The American left and many associations believe, on the contrary, that the social network does not sufficiently fight against misinformation and harassment of minorities. On Friday, Twitter also announced that the time given to the US competition authorities to launch a thorough review of the operation had expired without them taking up the case.