Elon Musk ignited a firestorm of speculation and optimism as he teased a potential "new platform" that could challenge Twitter for the title of "de facto public town square."
It all began on Friday when the Tesla CEO posted a poll on Twitter that asked the question: "Free speech is essential to a functioning democracy. Do you believe Twitter rigorously adheres to this principle?"
Musk – who has over 79 million followers on Twitter – received more than 2 million votes on his survey. At the time of publication, over 70% of respondents declared that Twitter does not provide free speech to its users.
On Saturday, Musk reacted to the Twitter poll results and asked, "Given that Twitter serves as the de facto public town square, failing to adhere to free speech principles fundamentally undermines democracy. What should be done?"
The SpaceX founder also pondered, "Is a new platform needed?"
Within four hours of posting his question, there were more than 26,000 replies on what Musk should or should not do about the issue of free speech on social media. Many commenters urged the billionaire business tycoon to buy Twitter and stop big tech censorship.
BlazeTV host Dave Rubin: "Maybe buying Twitter to clean it up makes sense, but maybe letting it die is best. @rumblevideo has the infrastructure and video capacity, @onlocals has the crowd funding and community building. PT is in on Rumble, I think you started something with him way back when!"
Managing director of Thiel Capital Eric Weinstein: "We need to invent something that fills this space that hasn't existed…yet. There are, unfortunately, several challenges that have prevented every previous attempt from working. This is very much an analytic problem of a particular kind. It’s not just lack of desire. Good luck."
Podcast host and computer scientist Lex Fridman: "Yes. I can build it."
Writer Katherine Brodsky: "The problem with new platforms is a) the alternatives are too political and b) those on Twitter have to start over on building their followings. How can they be moved over?"
Economist Brian Wesbury: "I'm on Twitter and Parler and others, but Twitter is still my go to. It's established…it has both sides…it just needs to stop canceling people. That's the problem with it.
Former MMA fighter Jake Shields: "We need a new platform but one that’s not a right wing echo chamber. I want to hear all perspective not one side."
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis spokesperson Christina Pushaw: "Buy this one!!!"
CEO Ryan Petersen: "Buy twitter Elon!"
Radio host Jason Rantz: "Buy Twitter."
Stock trader Timothy Sykes: "PLEASE BUY TWITTER AND MAKE IT BETTER!!!"
Radio host Buck Sexton: "Yes. Buy Twitter or please build one. Save the country from these psycho Silicon Valley libs."
Computer scientist Paul Graham: "That would be a waste of money. A decent team could reverse engineer a version 1 in a month."
Wall Street Bets chairman: "Just buy Twitter and change the bird logo to a doge," to which Musk responded, "Haha that would sick."
Cultural commentator Mike Cernovich advised Musk to purchase Twitter, and added, "If you’re a leftist making death threats against conservatives. or organizing riots, Twitter respects your freedom of speech. Twitter also respects the freedom of speech for media hoaxes like when every major outlet framed an innocent Covington high school kid."
Musk – who has a net worth of over $270 billion – replied, "Doesn’t sound very balanced."