Among them are billionaire GOP donor Peter Thiel and former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. Dorsey made it known to Musk that the social media site should have private ownership, according to people familiar with the matter. (Twitter was privately owned for its first seven years of existence.) Dorsey resigned last November, having faced pressure from the board to do so due to investors’ concerns about him running both Twitter and Square Inc. Before his departure, he and Musk communicated regularly — including via direct messages on Twitter.
The Journal also reported that when Twitter booted Donald Trump from the platform due to fears he could incite further violence following the Jan. 6 insurrection, Musk disagreed with the decision. Jared Birchall, Musk’s right-hand man, texted an associate Musk’s view: “He vehemently disagrees with censoring. Especially for a sitting president. Insane.”
Musk also buys into a common argument of right-leaning commentators that Twitter activity by certain figures is subject to a “shadow ban” rather than an algorithm, according to an investor who spoke with the billionaire recently.
Musk’s purchase has been heralded by some of these same commentators as a rebirth of free speech rights on the platform. Whether Musk will make the site a free-for-all isn’t clear — his plans are fluid — yet it seems like those who were banned in the past will at least want to test the waters.
The Journal reported that right-wing Holocaust skeptic Charles Johnson, who was permanently suspended from Twitter in 2015 after soliciting donations for “taking out” a Black Lives Matter activist, recently asked Birchall about regaining access to his account.
“When do I get my Twitter account back?” Johnson asked via text.
“Hopefully soon,” Birchall responded.