Arizona State professor, tech expert talk 'free speech' aspect of Elon Musk's purchase of Twitter

Entrepreneur and CEO of Telsa, Elon Musk, has reached an agreement to buy Twitter for roughly $44 billion.

Musk says he’s promising a more lenient touch to moderating content on the social media platform, but the decision is gaining mixed reactions as some users have vowed to delete their accounts once the deal is finalized.

Musk says he wants to own Twitter because he thinks it's not living up to its potential as a platform for free speech, despite Musk himself blocking Twitter users in the past for disagreeing with his tweets. He does want to change several things to make the platform more user-friendly.

We have what experts and the public had to say after the April 25 news.

"It would be great to see it as a platform where people can express their ideas and opinions openly," said Chase Kassel from Phoenix. "It doesn’t bother me one bit."

Musk posted a statement on Twitter saying that "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." Adding, that he wants to make the service "better than ever" with new features to get rid of automated spam accounts and make its algorithms open to the public to increase trust.

"There’s no way to know whether it’s going to be good or bad. What is for sure is that it’s not going to be the same," says Ken Colburn with Data Doctors. "It will definitely change. He claims he wants to open up the algorithm which is an interesting thing because that’s kind of the secret sauce of these companies."

Musk also wants to relax content restrictions, such as rules that suspended former U.S. President Donald Trump. However, Trump says he will not rejoin even if Musk reinstates his account.

Musk also plans to get rid of fake accounts and believes he can increase revenue through subscriptions that give paying customers a better Twitter experience, possibly an ad-free version.

The more hands-off approach to content moderation that Musk envisions has many users concerned that it will become more of a haven for disinformation, hate speech, and bullying – something Twitter has worked hard for years to mitigate and control.

Andrew Maynard, an Arizona State professor at the School for the Future of Innovation in Society, says, "I know this. Elon Musk wants to increase what he considers to be free speech and bringing back voices to Twitter that maybe people don’t want to see there and it’s going to be interesting to see how he navigates between free speech and hate speech."

Twitter says the transaction was unanimously approved by its board of directors and is expected to close this year pending regulatory sign-off and the approval of shareholders.

Related Stories:

Tune in to FOX 10 Phoenix for the latest news: