Tesla CEO Elon Musk made an offer to buy Twitter, following his decision to turn down a spot on the platform’s board of directors. Republican lawmakers cheered the offer, but critics warned against potential content moderation changes.
Meanwhile, Russia is expected to deploy cyber weapons on the U.S. during the midterm elections this year.
This is Hillicon Valley, detailing all you need to know about tech and cyber news from Capitol Hill to Silicon Valley. Send tips to The Hill’s Rebecca Klar, Chris Mills Rodrigo and Ines Kagubare. Someone forward you this newsletter? Subscribe here.
Musk ups the ante
Billionaire Elon Musk made an offer to buy Twitter for $43 billion, in the latest move in the saga since the Tesla CEO acquired a 9.2 percent stake in the company.
Musk, in a letter to Twitter Chairman Bret Taylordisclosed in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing on Wednesday, said he would purchase the company in its entirety for $54.20 a share.
More than money: Musk, during an interview at the TED 2022 conference, said the bid to buy Twitter is not a way to “make money,” but rather part of an effort to change the platform to be an “inclusive arena for free speech.”
“What I’m saying is this is not a way to sort of make money. My strong intuitive sense is that having a public platform that is maximally trusted and broadly inclusive is extremely important to the future of civilization. I don’t care about the economics at all,” Musk said.
GOP rejoice: Republican lawmakers cheered Musk’s offer to buy the company and his plan to focus on free speech.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), a fierce defender of former President Trump, said he would like to see Twitter accept the billionaire’s offer.
“This is the public square today, these social — these big tech platforms. This is where we have debate in our culture and in our country today.
“So, let’s have someone in charge who actually respects the First Amendment and free speech,” Jordan said on Fox Business.
Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), a conservative firebrand, echoed Jordan’s sentiments, saying that Musk understands that “free speech is worth fighting for.”
Russia expected to interfere in midterms
Russia is likely to deploy a range of cyber weapons on the United States and its election systems during this year’s midterm election cycle as tensions continue to escalate amid the ongoing war in Ukraine.
Moscow has so far shown restraint against the U.S. despite escalating sanctions that have damaged Russia’s economy, but experts predict the Kremlin will unleash a range of cyber weapons in an attempt to interfere in the midterms — from disinformation campaigns to efforts to hack into the election system.
“I do think that the chances are higher that we see a ramp up in cyber activity by the Russians as the conflict drags on; it’s less of what I would have expected at this point, but the elections are certainly in play,” an expert said.
IMMIGRANT GROUPS SUE ICE
A coalition of immigrant rights groups filed a lawsuit Thursday seeking information from Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) about the agency’s Intensive Supervision Appearance Program (ISAP), a so- called alternative to detention program that has ballooned during the Biden administration.
The groups — Community Justice Exchange, Just Futures Law and Mijente — initially filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with questions about the program in September.
The agency did not answer the questions despite the requirement that federal agencies respond to FOIA requests within 20 business days absent “unusual circumstances,” prompting Thursday’s lawsuit in Northern California federal district court.
INSTAGRAM PROMOTES EATING DISRODER ‘BUBBLE’
Instagram amplifies pro-eating disorder content to users in a way that fosters a harmful interconnected community that includes teen and underaged users, according to a report released Thursday by advocacy group Fairplay.
Instagram’s algorithm and data profiling tactics create a pro-eating disorder “bubble” on the platform that includes more than 88,000 unique accounts and reaches 20 million unique followers, according to the report.
“[Instagram] collects all of the data that it needs to sort of profile you as someone who’s interested in sort of pro-eating disorder content, and then creates this sort of world around you where it recommends that you follow these people, recommends that these people follow you, it recommends this content, it fills your feed with this sort of content — and that actually you can almost become trapped inside sort of pro-eating disorder bubble, even if you didn’t intend on doing that,” said Rys Farthing, author of the report.
BITS & PIECES
An op-ed to chew on: Biden is right to hesitate taking Iran’s IRGC off terrorist list
Lighter click: Baby… Jeff
Notable links from around the web:
- Thirst Traps, Anime, and the Viral Powerof TikTok Fan Edit Communities (Pitchfork / Cat Zhang)
- Crypto casinos: How bitcoin opened up a new online gambling world (NBC News/ Kevin Collier)
One more thing: Fox’s fake Truth account
A verified Fox News account was seen on former President Trump’s Truth Social app earlier this week.
The only problem? Fox News says it was an unauthorized.
The existence of the account on the Truth Social platform was initially tweeted out by an Axios reporter on Tuesday, the news outlet reported. It noted that the tweet has since been deleted.
Axios provided screenshots of the account on Truth Social as well as the app’s chief executive, former Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), who cheered Fox News’s presence.
Author: Rebecca Klar