Senate Democrats are contemplating bringing billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk before Congress for questioning over his future plans for Twitter.
Twitter announced on Monday that the social media giant and Musk, the world’s wealthiest man, had reached an agreement for Musk to purchase the company at $54.20 a share and take it private. Musk has criticized Twitter’s moderation policies and said that the platform should take an approach more in line with the First Amendment.
“We’re thinking about it,” Senate Commerce Chair Maria Cantwell (D-WA) told Bloomberg in response to a question on whether Democrats planned to question Musk.
The Senate Commerce Committee has held hearings with major social media platform heads in the past, such as former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who heads Facebook and Instagram. The committee has also had Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai to testify.
Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA), who sits on the Commerce Committee, emphasized the importance of learning about Twitter’s potential censorship and moderation policies under Musk’s management.
“It’s a technology which is central to democracy and our economy and it is important for the representatives of the American people to hear what the new owners intend on using that technology to accomplish,” Markey told Bloomberg. “We have to understand the censorship or lack thereof, content moderation or not, that is going to be the policy for the new owner.”
“In terms of what the values are that this company is going to be creating for the new Elon Musk Twitter world, I think that’s actually a necessary role for Congress to play,” he added.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) said, “there is a powerful imperative to ask [Musk] to tell Congress and the American people how he’s going to address the concerns that we’ve raised.”
Some key Senate Democrats are considering calling Elon Musk to testify on his plans to remake Twitter, amid broader calls in Congress for new regulations for tech and social media companies.
There are no imminent plans for hearings, but, “We’re thinking about it,” Senate Commerce Chair Maria Cantwell said in an interview Thursday.
The Washington state Democrat noted the committee has previously had hearings with former Twitter Inc. Chief executive Jack Dorsey, Meta Platforms Inc. CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Alphabet Inc. CEO Sundar Pichai. They were questioned about a decades-old legal shield that protects social media companies from liability for user-generated content posted on their sites, commonly referred to as Section 230.
The Tesla Inc. CEO earlier this week agreed to buy Twitter in one of the biggest leveraged buyout deals in history. The move was cheered by many Republicans who contend conservative views are censored. Democrats raised concerns that Musk, the world’s richest person, would loosen restrictions that are aimed at preventing the spread of disinformation.
Musk didn’t respond to a request for comment on his willingness to testify. Twitter declined to comment.