Twitter had been fighting Musk in court over his attempt to cancel a previous offer to buy the company for $44 billion — a move he said was based upon concerns that the actual share of fake accounts on the platform could range as high as 33% rather than the company’s reported 5%, with a lower number of monetizable daily active users justifying a lower valuation. Musk, however, has since revived his efforts to purchase the company.
Dimon, considered one of the most influential executives on Wall Street, said during an interview with CNBC that Musk is justified in his concerns about fake accounts.
“I hope Musk cleans up Twitter … Why can’t Twitter know who you are when you come on board, so they can eliminate all those people in the public square who are robots and emails and stuff like that?” Dimon remarked. “Why can’t they give you a choice of algorithms, as opposed to one that just jazzes you up?”
Musk and Dimon have clashed for years despite repeated attempts to mend their relationship, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal. However, Dimon offered praise for the Tesla and SpaceX chief executive amid his merger negotiations: “In my view, Elon is very smart.”
Ahead of a trial initially set to begin on October 17, attorneys representing Twitter had contested Musk’s rationale for passing on the $44 billion deal by producing text messages he sent to Michael Grimes, an executive at investment bank Morgan Stanley, indicating that he was concerned about macroeconomic conditions stemming from the Russian invasion of Ukraine. “Let’s slow down just a few days. Putin speech tomorrow is extremely important,” Musk said. “It won’t make sense to buy Twitter if we’re heading into World War III.”
Beyond his concern about fake accounts, however, Musk has voiced criticism over lackluster support on the platform for free expression. He began his shakeup campaign several months ago with a poll for his millions of followers: “Free speech is essential to a functioning democracy. Do you believe Twitter rigorously adheres to this principle? The consequences of this poll will be important. Please vote carefully.”
Twitter has been known to suspend or entirely remove accounts expressing conservative views, especially over remarks about controversial social issues. Libs of TikTok, a popular account that reposts videos from radical leftist activists, was locked out of Twitter two months ago for a “hateful conduct” warning. The Babylon Bee, a Christian satire website, was suspended earlier this year for mocking transgender Biden administration health official Rachel Levine. Musk had reportedly contacted the outlet’s leadership before making his first acquisition offer.
In recent testimony before the House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services, Dimon similarly advanced a robust view of free speech as a core component of free markets. “We live in the greatest country in the world predicated on foundational beliefs in freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of enterprise, the sanctity of the individual, and the promise of equality and opportunity for all,” he asserted. “Free enterprise requires not only the free movement of capital, but more importantly the value of knowledge and free people exercising their rights.”