Psaki Won’t Mention Musk By Name, Warns Twitter Could Still Promote ‘Misinformation’

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki would not comment specifically on the news that billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk had secured a deal to buy Twitter, but she said during Monday’s press briefing that President Joe Biden remains concerned about social media platforms and their role in spreading “misinformation.”

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Psaki took several questions on the topic of the day, but only responded in general terms.

“I’m not going to comment on a specific transaction,” she said, going on to note that President Biden had voiced concerns in the past about holding tech platforms “accountable for the harms they cause.”

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Reuters reporter Andrea Shalal asked specifically whether Psaki had anything she would like to say to Musk — and whether she was concerned that “purveyors of election misinformation, disinformation, health falsehoods” might have more access and opportunity to speak via Twitter.

Shalal went on to ask whether the White House was concerned about a billionaire taking control of a company where the power was already concentrated at the top.

“Our concerns are not new,” Psaki replied. “We’ve long talked about and the President has long talked about his concerns about the power of social media platforms, including Twitter and others to spread misinformation, disinformation, the need for these platforms to be held accountable.”

Real Clear Politics reporter Philip Wegmann then asked how closely the White House was willing to work with Twitter in efforts to prevent the spread of “misinformation.”

“Regardless of ownership, would the WH be interested in working with Twitter like it has in the past to continue to combat this kind of misinformation or are we in a different part of the pandemic where that kind of partnership is no longer necessary?” he asked, noting that the current surgeon general had argued that the spread of medical “misinformation” amounted to a “public health crisis.”

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Psaki responded by saying that the White House “engaged regularly” with all social media platforms in an effort to stay on top of “steps that can be taken” — but she went on to argue that Congress should act to put forth reforms that would increase transparency, among other things.

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Musk sealed the deal to buy Twitter on Monday after weeks of hinting that such a purchase was on the way, and continued to promise that he would make sure it was a haven for free speech.

“I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter, because that is what free speech means,” he tweeted on Monday.