Senate Democrats are contemplating bringing billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk before Congress for questioning over his future plans for Twitter.
Twitter announced on Monday that the social media giant and Musk, the world’s wealthiest man, had reached an agreement for Musk to purchase the company at $54.20 a share and take it private. Musk has criticized Twitter’s moderation policies and said that the platform should take an approach more in line with the First Amendment.
“We’re thinking about it,” Senate Commerce Chair Maria Cantwell (D-WA) told Bloomberg in response to a question on whether Democrats planned to question Musk.
The Senate Commerce Committee has held hearings with major social media platform heads in the past, such as former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who heads Facebook and Instagram. The committee has also had Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai to testify.
Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA), who sits on the Commerce Committee, emphasized the importance of learning about Twitter’s potential censorship and moderation policies under Musk’s management.
“It’s a technology which is central to democracy and our economy and it is important for the representatives of the American people to hear what the new owners intend on using that technology to accomplish,” Markey told Bloomberg. “We have to understand the censorship or lack thereof, content moderation or not, that is going to be the policy for the new owner.”
“In terms of what the values are that this company is going to be creating for the new Elon Musk Twitter world, I think that’s actually a necessary role for Congress to play,” he added.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) said, “there is a powerful imperative to ask [Musk] to tell Congress and the American people how he’s going to address the concerns that we’ve raised.”
The reaction to Musk’s buyout of Twitter has generally been split along political lines, with Democrats expressing concern and Republicans celebrating the change in leadership.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said that Musk’s purchase of Twitter is “the biggest development for free speech in decades.”
“There is a reason why Big Tech liberals want to silence conservatives – they know that freedom and free enterprise wins!” he added.
On the other side of the aisle, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) expressed concern over “billionaires like Elon Musk … accumulating power for their own gain.” She called for stricter rules on tech companies and a wealth tax.
Musk’s deal with Twitter is not finalized and could take months to fully change hands. After the entrepreneur made his initial offer, Twitter’s board appeared to be preparing to fight it and adopted a so-called “poison pill” to keep him from acquiring more stock. However, the platform reversed itself on Monday.
“Twitter has a purpose and relevance that impacts the entire world. Deeply proud of our teams and inspired by the work that has never been more important,” Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal said in a statement.