By Emel Akan
Tesla CEO on May 3 called for an investigation into the groups that have urged businesses in a letter to boycott Twitter if Musk reverses the social media company’s content moderation practices, a week after he reached a deal to acquire the platform.
“Who funds these organizations that want to control your access to information? Let’s investigate …” Musk wrote on Twitter on May 3. “Sunlight is the best disinfectant.”
Musk’s response came after CNN reported on the letter (pdf) signed by more than two dozen left-wing organizations.
“Interesting. I wonder if those funding these organizations are fully aware of what the organizations are doing,” Musk wrote the next day in response to a Daily Mail article.
The article, which was shared by Musk revealed that “George Soros, Clinton and Obama staffers and European governments are behind anti-Musk campaign” that urged big corporations to boycott Twitter after Musk’s acquisition.
The organizations sent the letter to big brands including Coca-Cola, Apple, Kraft, and Disney, asking them to pull their advertising spending from Twitter if Musk fails to follow specific rules. These rules include maintaining a ban on public figures and politicians who were removed from the platform.
The Black Lives Matter Network Foundation, NARAL Pro-Choice America, the Women’s March, Media Matters for America, and GLAAD were among the organizations.
According to the letter, the entities warned that “as top advertisers on Twitter, your brand risks association with a platform amplifying hate, extremism, health misinformation, and conspiracy theorists.”
Twitter risks devolving into “a cesspool of misinformation” under Musk’s leadership, they stated.
The Daily Mail article claimed that “‘dark money groups’ like George Soros’s Open Society Foundation; NGOs founded by former Clinton and Obama administration staffers; wealthy Democrat donors and their family foundations; labor unions; and the governments of European nations” are backing these organizations.
The letter was signed by 26 groups led by Accountable Tech, Media Matters for America, and UltraViolet.
Among the signatories of the letter is Access Now, a non-profit organization created in 2009 with the purpose of defending and expanding people’s digital civil rights throughout the world. The group, on its website, is opposed to Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter.
More than 60 percent of the organization’s funding comes from governments and development agencies, according to its website.
The German Federal Foreign Office, Sweden’s government agency Sida, Global Affairs Canada, Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs were among the biggest donors to the organization last year.
George Soros’ Open Society Foundations is also a major donor of the group.
Accountable Tech, another signatory of the letter, is a Washington-based group co-founded by Nicole Gill, a political campaigner and founder of the 2017 Tax March that held demonstrations throughout the country in 2017 to pressure former President Donald Trump to release his tax returns.
Gill founded Accountable Tech in May 2020 together with Jesse Lehrich, who is a former spokesman for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. Lehrich is also the nephew of David Axelrod, former senior adviser of President Barack Obama, according to the Daily Mail article.
“Social media giants are eroding our consensus reality and pushing democracy to the brink,” the organization states on its website. “Accountable Tech is fighting back.”
Media Matters for America, a co-signer of the letter, is a media watchdog founded in 2004 by David Brock, a former right-wing investigative reporter who turned liberal. Brock was described by Time Magazine in 2015 as “one of the most influential operatives in the Democratic Party.”
UltraViolet, another signatory of the letter, is a women’s advocacy group founded in 2012. The progressive nonprofit organization describes itself as “a powerful and rapidly growing community of people mobilized to fight sexism and create a more inclusive world.”
According to the Daily Mail article, the group is backed by several labor unions, including AFL-CIO and the American Federation of Teachers, as well as, numerous family foundations, such as the NoVo Foundation established by billionaire investor Warren Buffett’s son.
Access Now, Accountable Tech, Media Matters for America, and UltraViolet did not immediately respond to requests by The Epoch Times for comment.
Critics are concerned that Musk would allow hate speech and harmful disinformation to flourish on the social media platform.
Musk, however, questions whether sponsors who fund these groups are entirely aware of what they’re doing.
The billionaire acknowledged on April 27 in a tweet that attacks against him were “coming thick and fast” but mostly “from the left, which is no surprise.”
“However, I should emphasize that the right will almost certainly be upset as well,” Musk said in his tweet. “My objective is to maximize the area under the curve of overall human pleasure, which corresponds to the 80% of individuals who fall somewhere in the center.”
Musk made headlines by launching a takeover bid for Twitter last month. On April 25, Twitter accepted the billionaire’s proposal of $54.20 per share in cash, which valued the firm at about $44 billion. The deal is expected to be closed this year.
Jack Phillips contributed to this report.
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