Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren wants to put safeguards to stop Elon Musk from liberating the social media landscape and has called for new “rules” to govern “unregulated” social media amid the billionaire’s takeover of Twitter.
Speaking to MSNBC’s “The Beat with Ari Melber” on Wednesday, Warren said that decisions about large communications platforms like Twitter needed to be made “as a democracy” – calling for government restrictions on the Internet. She argued that the rules can’t be dictated by someone like Musk, who “plays by his own set of rules.”
Warren previously called the deal “dangerous for democracy.”
Echoing previous remarks she made on Twitter about the billionaire, the Democrat repeated her claim that Musk does not pay taxes.
“I see that we need to make two big changes. The first one is we need a wealth tax in America. And let’s talk about how Elon’s purchase here was subsidized by tens of millions of people who've paid their taxes every year,” Warren said on MSNBC.
“The second part is we need rules of the road for Big Tech,” she continued. “But ultimately what all of this boils down to is power. Who’s going to have the power in our country? Are we going to make these decisions as a democracy, or is this going to be Elon Musk all by himself, off in a room, a bazillionaire, who just plays by his own set of rules?”
Warren said that large platforms like Twitter create “platform effects” that “lock people in” with critical mass, which effectively dissuades people from using other platforms.
“So one of the things we need is we need rules so that you can leave the Twitter platform and go to a competitor’s platform and still be able to reach each other,” Warren said, suggesting that companies should facilitate inter-platform communication.
“Right now what we’ve got in tech is we don’t have that kind of competition. Rules of the road could help facilitate that kind of competition and, frankly, break the stranglehold of someone like Elon Musk coming in and just owning the whole thing,” Warren said.
Warren, whom Musk once dubbed “Senator Karen,” argued that Musk’s ownership of Twitter was “one of power” and that his ability to unilaterally make decisions for the company would affect millions of its users.
When Melber pointed out that as a private company Musk can do anything he wants and asked the senator for her opinion, Warren avoided the question to state that “This is not like buying some company that produces cars or some company that produces soap. This is about buying a platform for communication among millions of people.”
“The tech platforms have created something that is different, and right now it is just basically unregulated. It’s just out there for Elon Musk to make up the rules, and that’s why it is that we need to step in and say platforms like this need rules of the road on communication and so that there will be competition with other platforms,” said Warren.