During the months of agonizing uncertainty and endless court filings leading up to Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter, some distraught users vowed to abandon the social media site if the brazen billionaire was in charge.
Some feared that the world’s richest man, with a net worth of more than $200 billion, would loosen restrictions on what users could post, leaving Twitter open to more offensive content or misinformation. Others, particularly on the political right, applauded Musk’s efforts to make Twitter a platform for “free speech.” For years, Republican politicians and pundits have claimed, often without evidence, that social media platforms “censor” conservatives.
The sale was completed last week, and Musk immediately began his reign by firing several top executives, then sharing and later deleting a post containing false information, all while rumors of widespread layoffs circulated within the company.
These users say they can’t wait to see what changes Mr. Musk brings. Even before completing his $44 billion takeover, he stated that he was considering changes such as loosening free-speech rules and reintroducing banned users to Twitter. Some users believe that these changes will make it easier for hate speech to spread.
Mr. Musk said in tweets early Wednesday that people who have been removed from Twitter for breaking the rules will not be allowed back until the company has a transparent process in place. He estimated that it would take at least a few weeks to implement. Of course, it remains to be seen if these celebrities will uphold their pledges to stay off the platform. Twitter has more than 237 million users. Here’s who is quitting Twitter, who is sticking around, at least for now, and who might be back.
Winter played Bill in the Bill & Ted film trilogy alongside Keanu Reeves. He quit Twitter after taking a jibe at Musk with a meme. According to reports, the meme depicted Musk as one of the Three Musketeers, alongside Kanye West and former U.S. President Donald Trump.
Before removing himself from the platform, he had reportedly made it private, scrubbed his Twitter history, and left a Linktree address.
“Elon Musk taking over Twitter and making it a private company with less oversight has immediately made the platform more prone to hate speech, targeted attacks, and the spread of disinformation,” Winter said in an email to NBC, adding, “If Twitter returns to being a public company run by rational actors, many of us will return.”
Winter reiterated his opposition to Musk’s ownership of Twitter on his official Instagram account. Musk’s tweet, “Comedy is now legal on Twitter,” seemed to have struck a nerve.
The Madam Secretary (2014-2019) actor also appears to have removed herself from Twitter after announcing her decision to quit via a tweet on 29 October.
“Hi everyone. I’m coming off Twitter today, let’s see where we are when the dust settles. Today the dust has revealed too much hate, too much in the wrong direction. Love, kindness, and possibilities for all of you, thank you, xoxtéa,” she wrote in the tweet.
In a tweet to her nearly 2 million followers Friday, the Grammy-winning R&B star decried the content she said she had seen on Twitter since Musk’s takeover, writing in part: “I’m shocked and appalled at some of the ‘free speech” I’ve seen on this platform since its acquisition.
“Hate speech under the veil of ‘free speech’ is unacceptable; therefore, I am choosing to stay off Twitter as it is no longer a safe space for myself, my sons, and other POC,” Braxton added, using an initialism for people of color.