Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, and currently the richest person in the world, has announced he is in the process of buying the social media platform Twitter for $44 billion. Musk has vowed to ensure that the site becomes a space for free speech, tweeting it is the “bedrock of a functioning democracy”. But what do the British public think of Musk’s takeover?
By 40% to 23%, Britons have an unfavourable view of Elon Musk personally, though 37% don’t know enough about him to give an opinion either way. He is also unpopular with Twitter users, with 49% holding a negative opinion of him compared to 27% with a positive view.
The vast majority of Twitter users (90%) are aware of the ongoing sale, and by 30% to 14% users believe this will be a bad rather than good thing for the platform (32% vs 14% among those who use the platform on a daily basis). A quarter of those who use the platform (24%) don’t think it would make much difference either way. The study was conducted prior to Musk saying he would introduce minor costs for commercial or government users.
When it comes to Musk’s promises to facilitate more free speech, his ideas do not necessarily align with what the British public, or British Twitter users, want. Only 11% of the public and 14% of Twitter users think the site currently doesn’t give people enough freedom to post what they want. By contrast, more than twice as many people (32% of Britons and 37% of Twitter users) think that Twitter already gives too much freedom, allowing too much harmful and offensive content. One in six Britons (17%) and one in four users (27%) think the platform has the balance about right.
Looking across the pond, the takeover is being viewed slightly more postively in America than it is in the UK. As news of the sale was breaking, 30% of the US public thought it would be good for Twitter compared to 24% saying it would be bad. Elon Musk himself is also far more popular in the United States, with 49% holding a favourable view of him compared to 31% an unfavourable one.
See full results here