After news broke Monday that Twitter's board had agreed to accept Elon Musk's $44 billion offer to buy the company, notable figures and meme artists quickly got to work reacting to the shake-up.
In a statement after the sale was announced, Musk, one of Twitter's best-known personalities, said free speech is the "bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square."
"I also want to make Twitter better than ever by enhancing the product with new features, making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating the spam bots, and authenticating all humans," Musk said.
Musk, a prolific Twitter user, tweeted shortly before the announcement, "I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter, because that is what free speech means."
Some began immediately advocating for the reinstatement of those who have been banned from the platform, including former President Donald Trump, as some users tweeted that free speech had prevailed and the slogan "Make Twitter Great Again" began trending.
Trump, who was banned two days after the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, told Fox News that he would not return to Twitter, opting instead to join his own Truth Social platform within the week, as originally planned. However, Trump said he expected Musk to improve Twitter.
“I am not going on Twitter. I am going to stay on Truth,” Trump said. “I hope Elon buys Twitter, because he’ll make improvements to it and he is a good man, but I am going to be staying on Truth.”
Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., celebrated news of the purchase.
"Today is an encouraging day for freedom of speech. I am hopeful that Elon Musk will help rein in Big Tech’s history of censoring users that have a different viewpoint," she tweeted.
On the other side of the aisle, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said Musk’s purchase of Twitter “absolutely” gives him concern.
“He said he wants to make it this global message board. My first question to him '[is] the message board going to include Donald Trump?'” Durbin said, according to The Hill.
Meanwhile, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, offered a poll to his Twitter followers.
"Is Elon Musk buying Twitter a good thing?" he asked. The two answers offered: "Yes" or "No, I hate free speech."
Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott also appeared to back Musk's purchase, asking him to move the company's headquarters to the state.
"Bring Twitter to Texas to join Tesla, SpaceX & the Boring company," he tweeted, listing some of Musk’s other companies.
Some organizations, including the NAACP, urged Musk to keep hate speech off the platform.
“Mr. Musk: free speech is wonderful, hate speech is unacceptable. Disinformation, misinformation and hate speech have NO PLACE on Twitter. Do not allow 45 to return to the platform. Do not allow Twitter to become a petri dish for hate speech,” the NAACP said in a statement, referring to Trump, the 45th president.
The American Civil Liberties Union suggested that one person should not have full control of a company so at the heart of political speech.
"In today’s world, a small handful of private tech companies — including Twitter — play a profound and unique role in enabling our right to express ourselves online," the ACLU tweeted. "We should be worried about any powerful central actor, whether it’s a government or any wealthy individual — even if it’s an ACLU member — having so much control over the boundaries of our political speech online."
Old tweets from Musk resurfaced showing his stances on the platform in the past. In a tweet from 2020, he wrote, "Twitter sucks." In a tweet from 2016, he wrote, "Exactly! I love Twitter."
Despite the measured statements from some, others could not help but make jokes and memes about the sale.
Douglas A. Boneparth, the president of the financial planning company Bone Fide Wealth, joked, "Sex is cool, but have you ever paid $44 billion for an edit button?" Musk recently asked users whether they would want an edit button should he end up buying the company.
Others took the opportunity to tease Musk.
"Elon musk spending $43 billion to stop getting bullied on twitter when he could’ve simply been less annoying is insane," user @bocxtop said ahead of the sale, adding, "this tweet will self destruct as soon as the sale is final btw."
Writer Mike Drucker reassured users there was one thing Musk could not change.
"Elon Musk might change Twitter, but there’s one thing he can’t change: Our dignity (we never had that)," he wrote.
YouTuber Quackity4K had a request for Musk.
"finally elon musk can ban these minecraft Stans," he wrote, referring to fans of the video game Minecraft.
Entrepreneur and Twitter co-founder Biz Stone used the "How it started/How it's going" meme format to show, in the most literal sense, how Twitter's leadership had changed, juxtaposing a photo of Twitter's original leadership, including Jack Dorsey, with a photo of Musk.
On Monday afternoon, Dorsey's name began to trend on the site, along with Musk's, with some reassuring doubters that if they had reservations about Musk's ownership, Dorsey had a similar mentality to Musk.
"If you’re mad that twitter is gonna be run by a rich libertarian weirdo google jack dorsey," user @FanSince09 wrote.