FCC shoots down calls to halt Elon Musk Twitter takeover

As progressives lobby to shut down Elon Musk's Twitter purchase, the Federal Communications Commission says they will not be interfering in the transaction.

FCC shoots down calls to halt Elon Musk Twitter takeover
AP Photo/Eric Risberg
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Commissioners at the Federal Communications Commission have shot down calls for the government agency to prevent Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter from going through.  

In a statement on Monday, FCC Commissioner Nathan Simington called Musk’s takeover of the social media platform a “win” for freedom of speech online and called on regulators and the general public to embrace it.  

“Some have recently called on the FCC to stop Elon Musk from acquiring Twitter,” Simington said. “But nothing in the United States Code or our regulations gives us the right to interfere with this transaction. Our competition review authority does not and has never extended to internet platforms like Twitter.” 

Simington added that even if the deal was within the scope of the agency's authority, it would be “inappropriate and contrary to the public interest” to prevent it from going through.  

Simington pointed out that Musk’s acquisition of Twitter was in line with the ownership structures of the media industry, and even other social media platforms, pointing out that the New York Times is owned by A.G. Sulzberger, who inherited his ownership of the company from his father Arthur Sulzberger; Washington Post is owned by Jeff Bezos; and Facebook and its parent company Meta are both owned and operated by its founder Mark Zuckerberg, who remains its principal shareholder.  

As reported by the Daily Wire: 

Simington also noted that vertical integration in online media companies is widespread, and there are multiple examples of individuals or companies owning or controlling both broadband internet providers as well as online services like search engines, streaming platforms, and news sites. Furthermore, Simington said that concerns about Elon Musk owning both Twitter and Starlink “could not be taken seriously,” since Starlink currently provides broadband internet to less than 1% of Americans. 

Simington also rejected other calls for the federal government to stop Musk from “enshrining free expression on Twitter.” Previously, several Democratic members of Congress and left-wing commentators lamented Musk’s buyout of Twitter, and called for regulation to stop the flow of “disinformation” and “hate.” 

Simington is not alone in his opinion, FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr rejected a call from left-wing lobbyist group Open Markets Institute demanding that the FCC, Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and Department of Justice (DOJ) block Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter. The organization argued that the transaction poses a “direct threat[] to American democracy and free speech.” 

Open Markets Institute wrote:  

“The most obvious problem is that the deal would give to a single man – one who already wields immense political and economic power – direct control over one of the world’s most important platforms for public communications and debate. As has been true from the Founding, the American people have an absolute right to ensure the full openness and neutrality of all essential public infrastructure. Specific to communications, we see this in Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution, in the Telegraph acts of 1860 and 1866, the Mann-Elkins Act of 1910, the Communications Act of 1934, and many other federal and state laws. Americans have also repeatedly used our antitrust laws to prevent concentrations of power over communications, speech, debate, and news.” 

Carr rejected the demand from the left-wing organization, stating that “The FCC has no authority to block Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter, and to suggest otherwise is absurd.”  

“I would welcome the full FCC making it clear that we will not entertain these types of frivolous arguments,” Carr wrote.  

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