Conservatives praised Elon Musk’s deal to buy Twitter on Monday, reflecting the way anger at Silicon Valley’s content moderation decisions has become a central issue for Republican lawmakers.
Senator Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee said she was “hopeful that Elon Musk will help rein in Big Tech’s history of censoring users that have a different viewpoint.” Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, tweeted that free speech is “making a comeback” and posted a news article about the roughly $44 billion deal. Representative Lauren Boebert of Colorado tweeted that Mr. Musk “now literally owns the libs.”
Former President Donald J. Trump, a prolific Twitter user before the service barred him after the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, told Fox News that he hoped Mr. Musk would buy Twitter “because he’ll make improvements to it and he is a good man.”
But he told the cable network he would not return to the service. Instead, he said he would use Truth Social, the site that started in February with his backing and which had a slow start.
Mr. Musk’s purchase of Twitter could scramble the debate in Washington about regulating major social media platforms. Republican lawmakers have spent years criticizing the site for taking down content from conservative personalities and publishers. Now they hope that Mr. Musk will bring an era of lax moderation to the platform.
But the deal may raise concerns with groups that want Silicon Valley platforms to do more to limit hate speech, violent content and misinformation.
“Musk hasn’t just purchased another expensive play toy, but a global online community that includes about 330 million regular users,” Jessica J. González, the co-chief executive of the public interest group Free Press, said in a statement. “With control of such a massive platform comes great responsibility — and Musk hasn’t shown he has the capacity to be accountable to this diverse online community.”
Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, declined to comment on the deal. But she said President Biden had longstanding concerns about the spread of misinformation online.