Amid Twitter’s Musk meltdown, Mark Hamill pledges to stay on ‘no matter who owns it’
When word exploded online Monday that Elon Musk had struck a deal to buy Twitter for $44 billion — a deal that still faces shareholder approval — many users announced they were leaving the social platform.
“Star Wars” luminary Mark Hamill was not among them.
“No matter who owns it, no matter who’s on it, I’m staying to engage with you, listen to diverse opinions & to keep fighting the good fight! (also, to keep posting the inane tweets I’m known for) #TwitterTenacity,” the actor wrote Monday afternoon.
Soon after, Hamill tweeted, “Weird. I just lost more than 8,000 followers in the last couple of hours. Was it something I said?”
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“Same. Was just wondering the same thing,” replied actor Josh Gad, who was one of the hundreds interacting with Hamill’s tweets. Commentator Keith Olbermann chimed in, “I’m down about the same (proportionately) — around 1800. Can’t tell if it’s dead bots or people afraid that Elon will find out they were following me.”
Gary Whitta, a screenwriter with a “story by” credit on “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” replied, “Happening to many. Prevailing theory is that it’s people canceling their accounts following the Musk buyout.”
Others maintained that the alleged follower drops were merely linked to a periodic purge of bot accounts. Musk, the richest person in the world, has promised to embrace free speech on the platform, add new features, make Twitter’s algorithm open-source and authenticate all users. Critics have questioned his motives.
Meanwhile, Twitter co-founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey expressed support for the ownership change.
“Elon’s goal of creating a platform that is ‘maximally trusted and broadly inclusive’ is the right one. This is also @paraga’s goal, and why I chose him. Thank you both for getting the company out of an impossible situation. This is the right path...I believe it with all my heart,” he tweeted, name-checking current Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal. Dorsey added, “I’m so happy Twitter will continue to serve the public conversation. Around the world, and into the stars!”
“I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter, because that is what free speech means,” Musk tweeted Monday.
Some celebrity users were less zen about the proposed changes, which theoretically would come after — and if — the deal is closed.
“Ah he got twitter,” actor Jameela Jamil tweeted Monday. “I would like this to be my what lies here as my last tweet. Just really *any* excuse to show pics of [pet dog] Barold. I fear this free speech bid is going to help this hell platform reach its final form of totally lawless hate, bigotry, and misogyny. Best of luck.”
Bette Midler tweeted Tuesday, “‘Free (hate) speech is the (destruction) of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of (pedophilia, racism, & facism) humanity are promoted,’ Mr. Musk said in a statement announcing the deal.’ There. I fixed it.”
Actor-activist Alyssa Milano let others speak for her, retweeting people who argued that social media platforms should be “owned and operated as public utilities” and warned that billionaire ownership in key industries was “what oligarchy looks like.”
By Tuesday morning, the #LeavingTwitter hashtag had been hijacked by people who found it amusing that Musk’s move had people pledging to leave the platform. Some likened it to those who stayed put a few years back after boldly saying they would move to Canada and beyond if their presidential candidate didn’t win.