MPs offer Elon Musk opportunity to ‘address critiques in public’

Written by Sam Trendall on 11 May 2022 in News
News

Billionaire invited to appear before parliamentary committee

Credit: Daniel Oberhaus/CC BY 2.0

A committee of MPs has offered Elon Musk – the prospective owner of Twitter and the world’s richest person – an “opportunity to address… in public” his critics.

Julian Knight, the Conservative MP for Solihull, has written to Musk to invite him to appear before the Digital, Media, Culture and Sport select committee – which Knight chairs. The missive was sent several days after the board of Twitter gave the green light to Musk’s $44bn (£35.8bn) bid to acquire the microblogging company.

“My committee has noted your proposed acquisition of Twitter and we are interested in the developments you propose,” he wrote. “In particular, your intention to roll out verification for all users echoes our calls on the UK government as part of proposed legislation, which we hope will restore the UK public’s trust in digital platforms.”

Knight’s letter cited various reports published by the committee on the subject of misinformation and online safety, the conclusions of which included calling “for greater transparency of bots and automated and spam accounts” and identifying the need for “ways to balance civil liberties like freedom of expression with the need to tackle pernicious, pervasive online child sexual exploitation and abuse”.


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“I therefore wish to take this opportunity to invite you to speak before our committee and discuss your proposals in more depth,” the committee chair told Musk. “I know you have expressed your wish that critics remain on Twitter, and this may present an opportunity to address any critiques in public. I look forward to hearing your response and discussing your plans for the future of Twitter in committee in the near future.”

Musk has founded or led numerous tech and engineering companies and is the current chief executive of both Tesla and SpaceX. His net worth is currently estimated by Forbes as $235.2bn, making him the richest person in the world – by a margin of almost $100bn.

Subject to regulatory approval, the proposed acquisition of Twitter is scheduled to close at some point this year. Once completed, the buyout will return the social network to private ownership after nine years as a publicly listed company.

 

About the author

Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology. He can be reached on sam.trendall@dodsgroup.com.

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