An MSNBC host suggested Monday evening that elections could be swayed through Twitter’s targeting of political parties or candidates.
Host Ari Melber reacted to Monday news that Elon Musk will be buying Twitter for $44 billion, telling viewers that they should be paying attention to Twitter since “the world’s richest person, who is very good at accumulating wealth and power, thinks this is worth spending ten of billions of dollars on because, frankly, he thinks it’s that valuable and he thinks it may help him.”
“Trump, by the way today is claiming that he won’t even return to Twitter if the ban were lifted but few take what Donald Trump says seriously on that score,” said Melber. “So, what is happening here? This is far bigger than Trump or Elon Musk. They are symptoms of the world we are living in where technology has outpaced any of our ability to deal with it.”
Melber expressed anxieties that one person can own “all of Twitter,” saying, “If you own all of Twitter or Facebook or what have you, you don’t have to explain yourself.”
“You don’t even have to be transparent,” he continued, before suggesting that the owner of Twitter could sway elections. “You could secretly ban one party’s candidate, or all of its candidates, all of its nominees, or you could just secretly turn down the reach of their stuff and turn up the reach of something else and the rest of us might not even find out about it until after the election.”
“Elon Musk says this is all to help people because he is just a free speech, philosophically clear open minded helper, a world helper, if you will,” he added. “Is that true? Should you take him at his word?”
The MSNBC host’s comments sparked scorn and criticism from Twitter users who pointed out that conservatives have repeatedly been locked out of their Twitter accounts for stating traditional views or conservative perspectives (as recently as Monday, Twitter punished Concerned Women for America’s President Penny Nance for calling a biologically male, transgender athlete, a man).
In October 2020, Twitter locked the New York Post out of its account following the outlet’s publication of a smoking gun report on Hunter Biden’s laptop exposing that Hunter Biden and his father met with an executive from the Ukrainian gas company Burisma in 2015.
Twitter also heavily censored the story, prevented users from tweeting or sending the New York Post link, and locked the accounts of numerous high-profile Twitter users who attempted to post the link (like White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany).
BREAKING: Twitter has locked the personal account of White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany for sharing news Democrats don’t like. pic.twitter.com/eR8HhkgqVY
— Trump War Room (@TrumpWarRoom) October 14, 2020
Following the announcement that President Joe Biden had won the 2020 presidential election, a slew of liberal media outlets, activists, and Democrats suggested that the president should take an active approach to censoring conservative media and punish conservatives involved in the Trump administration.
Twitter began massively cracking down on users and activity after rioters supporting former President Donald Trump stormed the United States Capitol on Jan. 6. The former president was suspended from the platform shortly afterwards.
“This is amazing to watch,” tweeted OutKick’s Clay Travis on Monday. “Does he not realize all of this was already done to Republicans?”
MSNBC is freaking out that Twitter will now favor the GOP as much as it has favored the Democratic Party: pic.twitter.com/wKGJDj0xc5
— Max Abrahms (@MaxAbrahms) April 26, 2022
“Hey, @AriMelber, serious question,” quipped digital strategist Greg Price. “I’ve been looking for a new rock to live under and was wondering which one you use.”