New Twitter owner Elon Musk tweeted Monday encouraging “independent-minded voters” to vote Republican, marking a major departure for leaders of social media companies, who typically steer clear of partisan political advocacy.
The remark capped a chaotic weekend in which Musk abruptly changed course on several major issues for the company, which he acquired for $44 billion a little over a week ago. After laying off about half of the workforce on Friday, Twitter began scrambling to rehire some who were let go. It postponed the planned launch of its new paid verification product until after the midterm elections.
And it suspended popular accounts for impersonating Musk, under a new policy that the company’s new CEO announced Sunday.
To independent-minded voters:
Shared power curbs the worst excesses of both parties, therefore I recommend voting for a Republican Congress, given that the Presidency is Democratic.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 7, 2022
Musk’s endorsement of GOP candidates to his 115 million Twitter followers, a day before midterm elections, is likely to intensify the partisan divide over his takeover of the platform. Lawmakers in the past have grilled executives of social media companies including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube as to whether their decisions could have influenced election outcomes, even as those executives have studiously avoided signaling their preferences for a given party