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UK government summons Elon Musk to explain his Twitter buyout plans, discuss free speech, and more

Elon Musk
Elon Musk (Image credit: Recode)

What you need to know

  • The UK government has invited new Twitter owner Elon Musk to explain his plans for Twitter.
  • The UK's Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) committee is particularly interested in plans to ensure users are verified as real people.
  • Musk is in the process of completing a $44 billion buyout of Twitter.

New Twitter owner Elon Musk has been invited to speak with the UK's Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) committee so they can discuss what comes next in terms of free speech and plans to ensure all users of the social network have their identity verified.

The buyout of Twitter by Musk has caused quite a stir, and not just because he intends to hand over $44 billion for it — assuming everything goes as planned over the coming weeks. The outspoken Tesla CEO has already been making noises about the role of Twitter in the protection of free speech while he has also suggested that all users should be verified to ensure their identities are known. That, in particular, interests MP Julian Knight who penned the invitation as reported by Variety.

"My Committee has noted your proposed acquisition of Twitter and we are interested in the developments you propose," Knight writes. "In particular, your intention to roll out verification for all users echoes our calls on the U.K. Government as part of proposed legislation, which we hope will restore the U.K. public's trust in digital platforms."

The UK government has been concerned about the spread of misinformation on social media for a while, including Twitter. A 2020 report looked into how COVID-19 misinformation easily spread on social networks and it's been suggested that making people give their real identities would help weed out spambots and the like. That, and presumably Musk's definition of "free speech" will be discussed should the incoming Twitter owner decide to make an appearance. So far, he hasn't confirmed one way or the other.

Musk's buyout of Twitter comes after he previously became the company's largest shareholder and refused a place on its board. It was thought at the time that the move could be the prelude to bigger things, something that was confirmed within a matter of days as the $4 billion bid went in.

Oliver Haslam
Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.