(The Hill) — News of Elon Musk’s corporate takeover of social media giant Twitter dominated headlines late Thursday into Friday morning.
The bombastic billionaire’s $44 billion deal with Twitter immediately set off a firestorm of speculation about what the platform might look like under a new executive who has characterized himself as a First Amendment absolutist and sparked controversy with his own social media posts.
Chief among the questions being debated online and in the news media on Thursday was whether Musk would reinstate the account of former President Donald Trump, who lost his privileges on the site over what company leadership said at the time was a pattern of posts that violated their rules on harmful information.
Hours after news of Musk’s takeover broke, a fake statement from Trump began circulating online.
“Congratulations to Elon Musk on his purchase of Twitter. Many people are saying that change was needed, as the old management was too concerned with the woke agenda,” the fabricated statement read. “I have been told that my account will be back up and running on Monday — we will see. Happy to be able to engage with an African-American owned business!”
A number of media and political personalities shared the statement with their followers and viewers, including newly minted MSNBC host Alex Wagner.
“In the rush of reporting on Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter we included some bad information about Donald Trump’s reaction to the deal. We regret the error,” the Twitter account for Wagner’s show wrote late Thursday evening after her show noted the fake statement.
A number of other right-wing Twitter accounts also fell for the fake statement.
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The former president did not commit to rejoining Twitter.
“I am very happy that Twitter is now in sane hands, and will no longer be run by Radical Left Lunatics and Maniacs that truly hate our country,” Trump wrote. “Twitter must now work hard to rid itself of all of the bots and fake accounts that have hurt it so badly. It will be much smaller, but better. I LOVE TRUTH!”