Bulletins

Elon Musk still can't tweet whatever he wants

Just because he's buying Twitter doesn't mean he has free rein.

Elon Musk pauses and looks down as he speaks during a press conference at SpaceX's Starbase facility near Boca Chica Village in South Texas on February 10, 2022. - Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk delivered an eagerly-awaited update on SpaceX's Starship, a prototype rocket the company is developing for crewed interplanetary exploration. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP) (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)

Is Musk’s hostile bid for real, or is the world’s richest man simply on a $43 billion lark?

Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Elon Musk may soon be Twitter's owner, but he still can't tweet whatever he wants.

Musk isn't allowed to post tweets about his Twitter acquisition if they “disparage the company or any of its representatives," according to an SEC filing reported by Bloomberg. Though he's allowed to publicly discuss the deal, he can't paint the company or its leaders in a bad light. It's unclear what the ramifications are for Musk if he decides to tweet critically about Twitter anyway — given he's been doing that for years, and continues to do so this week.


Musk tweeted on Tuesday criticizing Twitter lawyer Vijaya Gadde for blocking a New York Post story about Hunter Biden in 2020, saying "suspending the Twitter account of a major news organization for publishing a truthful story was obviously incredibly inappropriate." Twitter later reversed this decision.

Musk has long been one of Twitter's most vocal critics, bashing the company's content moderation and claiming it limits free speech. Prior to his acquisition of the company, he tweeted that "Twitter serves as the de facto public town square, failing to adhere to free speech principles fundamentally undermines democracy."

Not only does Musk have a restrictions on what he can say about Twitter on Twitter, but he also can't seem to shake his Twitter-sitter settlement stemming from his problematic tweets about Tesla, Axios reported. On Wednesday, a federal judge denied Musk's request to drop a 2018 SEC settlement that requires that his tweets be pre-approved. Musk asked that the the consent decree be terminated in March, calling the policy unworkable, according to The Wall Street Journal. The settlement was first put in place in in 2018 over fraud charges when Musk tweeted he could take Tesla private without filing SEC regulatory notices.

"[Musk] cannot now complain that this provision violates his First Amendment rights," U.S. District Judge Lewis Liman said in a written opinion. "Musk's argument that the SEC has used the consent decree to harass him and to launch investigations of his speech is likewise meritless and, in this case, particularly ironic."

Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled Judge Liman's name. This story was updated on April 27, 2022.

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