Experts sound alarm on Elon Musk buying Twitter – and warn all your DMs might not be safe
Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk (pictured December 2020) (AFP)

Elon Musk, the world's richest person, is reportedly in final stage talks of buying Twitter and experts are warning of the threat to democracy and democratic institutions should the sale go through – which could happen as soon as today.

Musk was under federal order to have all his tweets pre-approved after being fined, along with Tesla, $40 million over SEC fraud charges. He has endorsed candidates like Kanye West and Andrew Yang, and moved to Texas, with Governor Greg Abbott claiming Musk supports the state's "social policies," including his vigilante-enforced abortion ban.

Early in the pandemic Musk called governmental directives to stay at home "fascist," and has donated to both anti-choice Republicans and pro-choice Democrats.

Among his more concerning tweets is one, since removed, in which he likened Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to Hitler.

Experts on extremism, political and civil rights, and security, along with journalists are issuing warnings and dire predictions as Musk grows closer to privately owning the social media platform many consider to be a cornerstone of American political discourse, one that helps shape public opinion and public policy.

Earlier this month CNBC reported The National Urban League was warning a Musk purchase of Twitter could have "grave" civil rights implications.

Political scientist, author, and founder and president of the political risk assessment consultancy, the Eurasia Group, Ian Bremmer wrote Monday he expects Musk will make Twitter "an even more polarizing and inhumane environment."

The Daily Beast's Justin Baragona predicts if Musk completes the purchase, "Trump's getting his Twitter account back."

Berkeley professor and former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich says "Elon Musk's real goal has nothing to do with the freedom of others. His goal is the freedom to wield enormous power without having to be accountable to laws and regulations, shareholders, or market competition—which is why he's dead set on owning Twitter."

The COO of a security testing software company who tweets on national security and information security warns Musk could have access to user's private direct messages:

John Scott-Railton, a Senior Researcher at The Citizen Lab whose work focuses on technological threats civil society, puts the direct message threat in more context:

The Daily Beast's investigative and political journalist Roger Sollenberger focuses on the data aspect of the sale.

Crooked Media editor-in-chief Brian Beutler points to the 2016 presidential election and the "disclosing the private communications of prominent Democrats."

Josh Marshall, the editor in chief and founder of Talking Points Memo calls Musk buying Twitter a political act.

Senior defense analyst Brynn Tannehill, author of the book "American Fascism: How the GOP is Subverting Democracy," delivers this stark warning: