When Elon Musk acquired Twitter, his message was one of promise and freedom.
"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," he said.
Since then, Musk has failed to deliver on his ambitions of making Twitter "better than ever" for its user base. Here are 5 examples of Musk's greatest blunders so far.
Joining Joe Rogan to incite harassment against a vaccine scientist
\u201c@joerogan He\u2019s afraid of a public debate, because he knows he\u2019s wrong\u201d— Joe Rogan (@Joe Rogan) 1687045901
Musk, wielding his massive influence on public opinion, decided to back conservative pundit Joe Rogan up in a dogpile against Dr. Peter Hotez, a vaccine scientist, professor, and published author.
Their exchange started when Dr. Hotez shared an article decrying Spotify for platforming Rogan's continued spreading of vaccine misinformation. Rogan responded by offering to donate $100k to charity if Dr. Hotez agreed to debate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on his podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience. When Dr. Hotez refused to engage with him, Rogan questioned how serious he was about his beliefs.
Musk responded with "he knows he's wrong", which motivated an onslaught of harassment from Musk and Rogan supporters.
Platforming Tucker Carlson under the guise of free speech
\u201cOnce again, I\u2019d like to offer this platform to anyone on the left. You will get equal treatment.\u201d— Elon Musk (@Elon Musk) 1686724139
After Tucker Carlson's exile from Fox News, Musk welcomed him to Twitter with open arms. Carlson's hateful and racist rhetoric has gone beyond just "opinion", yet Musk has touted himself as merely a free speech advocate for all. Musk wrote "bold" in response to the third episode of Tucker on Twitter, and followed up with "Once again, I'd like to offer this platform to anyone on the left. You will get equal treatment."
Aligning himself with Prime Minister Modi
Under past leadership, Twitter was known to push back against abuse-of-power, including against the Indian government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Musk, however, said he's a "fan of Modi" in a recent interview, and stated that Modi "really wants to do the right thing for India."
Modi's administration has continued to request takedowns of information on Twitter, in an effort to censor dissenting information. When Twitter was recently accused of censoring anti-government sentiment for Indian users, Musk appeared to get defensive.
In the past, Musk also stated that he preferred to "hew close to the laws of countries in which Twitter operates", furthering the likelihood that he may have known about the recent Indian censorship after all.
Permanently banning accounts for making jokes about him
\u201cGoing forward, any Twitter handles engaging in impersonation without clearly specifying \u201cparody\u201d will be permanently suspended\u201d— Elon Musk (@Elon Musk) 1667775222
A few days after he announced "Comedy is now legal on Twitter", Musk decided that his statement didn't count if he was the butt of the joke. Twitter permanently banned multiple users who impersonated him, including comedians Kathy Griffin and Ethan Klein. Both users have had their accounts restored since.
Twitter's wave of suspensions last year also included several journalists, which prompted the Committee to Protect Journalists to publish a request for restored accounts.
Platforming transphobic lies
Just this month, Musk has made it clear on numerous occasions that he doesn't respect the rights of transgender people , echoing common conservative talking points.
Musk started the month off by retweeting the hate-fueled and unscientific Daily Wire documentary, What Is A Woman?, adding "Every parent should watch this." He followed up by stating that "a child is not capable of consent, which is why we have laws protecting minors."
Musk also has a transgender daughter, who cut ties with him last year, wishing to no longer be associated with him.