Elizabeth Warren calls Elon Musk’s Twitter deal ‘dangerous for our democracy’

"Billionaires like Elon Musk play by a different set of rules than everyone else, accumulating power for their own gain."

Drew Angerer
Senator Elizabeth Warren on March 15 in Washington, D.C. Drew Angerer

Soon after Elon Musk reached a deal on Monday to buy Twitter for about $44 billion, Sen. Elizabeth Warren blasted the business arrangement, calling the pending transaction “dangerous for our democracy.”

“Billionaires like Elon Musk play by a different set of rules than everyone else, accumulating power for their own gain,” Warren wrote in a tweet that went viral on the social media platform. “We need a wealth tax and strong rules to hold Big Tech accountable.”

Musk, CEO of Tesla and the world’s richest person, has expressed his vision to privatize Twitter so the platform can live up to what he sees as its full potential for advancing free speech on the internet.


“Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated,” Musk said on Twitter on Monday.

But news of the deal immediately sparked conversations online over Musk’s intent as well as the ramifications of privatizing one of social media’s most prominent public forums.

Warren was just one of several local Democrats who either decried or raised questions about Musk’s massive buyout.

“If they can afford to buy Twitter, they can afford to pay their fair share in taxes,” Rep. Katherine Clark wrote in a tweet.

Rhode Island Rep. David Cicilline, a Democrat who’s been outspoken on Big Tech antitrust issues, in his own tweet Monday, highlighted how the deal demonstrates the country’s drastic income inequality issues.

“Something is deeply wrong in this country when one person can buy a social media company on a whim for $44 billion while others have to skip meals to keep their kids fed,” Cicilline wrote. “We have to address the extreme concentration of wealth in this country.”

Warren, a strong proponent of higher taxes for the very top of the nation’s highest earners, has long pushed for a wealth tax for earners like Musk.


And Warren has also sparred with the billionaire before.

In December, after Musk was named TIME‘s Person of the Year, Warren tweeted, “Let’s change the rigged tax code so The Person of the Year will actually pay taxes and stop freeloading off everyone else.”

Musk, according to a Pro Publica report in June, paid no federal income tax in 2018 and paid only $65,000 in 2017 and $68,000 in 2015.

Musk responded in a series of tweets, including one that read, “Please don’t call the manager on me, Senator Karen.”

“And if you opened your eyes for 2 seconds, you would realize I will pay more taxes than any American in history this year,” he wrote in another.

Musk didn’t directly acknowledge Warren’s comments or those from other critics on Monday.

But in one tweet, he wrote: “I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter, because that is what free speech means.”


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