National News Beat: Elon Musk buys Twitter, Macron prevails and US commits to Ukraine

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Someone viewing Twitter on their phone. On Monday, Elon Musk purchased Twitter for $44 billion dollars. Photo by Pexels/Solen Feyissa

On Monday, Elon Musk purchased Twitter for $44 billion dollars. The social media platform has been the subject of controversy over the past year, escalating following the company’s decision to ban then president Donald Trump for incitement of violence and breaking Twitter’s terms of service. Musk has purchased the platform with the intent of softening Twitter’s terms of service and policing of content. He said that he did not believe the app was living up to its potential as a free speech platform according to the AP

“Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated,” Musk said via Twitter.  

Musk also stated that he wanted to make Twitter better by removing spam accounts and authenticating all accounts.  

“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. Twitter has tremendous potential – I look forward to working with the company and the community of users to unlock it.” 

Musk has described himself as a free speech absolutist. Some have expressed concern that the app will become a haven for disinformation and hate speech. Former President Donald Trump has said that even if Musk does reverse his Twitter ban that he will not return to the platform and will continue to use his Truth Social app which was created as a conservative free-speech alternative to Twitter.

Macron during a visit to Bratislava. Macron won the election for president with a comfortable lead. Courtesy of Wikimedia

In international news, French general elections for president were held over the weekend. The election saw a rematch to the contentious 2017 election between 44-year-old Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen. Macron has been criticized over the past few years over worker policies that were punctuated by the yellow-vest protests in Paris and across the nation. Macron has commanded the center lane of the political spectrum while Le Pen has appealed more to the populist far right. Macron won with a comfortable lead, but acknowledged in his victory speech that he knows many cast ballots for him so his opponent would not receive the presidency according to the AP.  

Macron in his new five-year term sought to reassure the stability of the European Union, NATO and support for Ukraine. Other European leaders reacted to Macron’s victory, claiming that it was a victory for Europe. 

“Democracy wins, Europe wins,” said Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez.  

“Together we will make France and Europe advance,” tweeted European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. 

While Le Pen lost the election by nearly 20 points, she improved from her 2017 defeat by nearly 10 points, showing signs that the far right is making advances in France.  

Finally, the United States signaled a strong commitment to Ukraine over the weekend when the Biden Administration secretly sent Secretary of State Anthony Bliken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to the front lines of the conflict in Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, according to the AP. When talking with reporters in Poland Secretary Austin committed the United States to Ukraine’s aid and the goals the United States wants to reach regarding Russia and European security.  

“We want to see Ukraine remain a sovereign country, a democratic country able to protect its sovereign territory. We want to see Russia weakened to the point where it can’t do things like invade Ukraine,” Secretary Austin said via the AP.  

Bliken and Austin also reportedly committed the US to $300 million in foreign military aid to Ukraine as well as $165 million in ammunition. Bliken also stated that Ukraine has succeeded in resisting against Russia so far and commended their efforts.  

“When it comes to Russia’s war aims, Russia is failing. Ukraine is succeeding. Russia has sought as its principal aim to totally subjugate Ukraine, to take away its sovereignty, to take away its independence. That has failed,” Secretary Bliken said via the AP.  

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