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Musk Wants Free Speech on Twitter After Spending Years Silencing Critics

The Tesla CEO’s tactics have included NDAs and public shaming of perceived enemies

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If Elon Musk is able to take over Twitter Inc., his biggest promise is to transform it into a platform for free speech with few restrictions — something he calls “essential to a functioning democracy.” But Musk, who is famously sensitive to criticism, has a mixed record on championing the cause.

The 50-year-old billionaire has donated over $6 million to the American Civil Liberties Union in the last five years, making him one of its most substantial donors, and he’s discussed free speech on numerous occasions with the organization’s executive director. But in his tweets, public remarks and policies at the businesses he runs, Musk shows little tolerance for speech that’s unflattering to him or his companies, or reflects employee criticism of the workplace.