FCC commish says agency cannot interfere in Musk’s Twitter buy: ‘contrary to the public interest to block it’

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FCC Commissioner Nathan Simington on Monday slapped down the notion that stopping Tesla CEO Elon Musk from acquiring Twitter was within the power of his agency. 

In an open letter published Monday, Simington said there was nothing in the United States Code or FCC regulations to interfere with Musk’s $44 billion transaction deal reached with Twitter last week. 

FILE: A view of the commission’s hearing room before a hearing at the Federal Communications Commission on December 14, 2017 in Washington, DC.  (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images / Getty Images)

Even if the deal were within the FCC’s purview, Simington said, "it would be inappropriate and contrary to the public interest to block it." 

"Mr. Musk’s acquisition does not raise any concerns about vertical or horizontal concentration in the social media market, and there is no reason to think it would otherwise limit competition or harm consumer welfare." 

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Musk has vowed to reshape Twitter by easing its restrictions on free speech – plans that have outraged the left and won praise from conservatives. Democratic lawmakers, meanwhile, have warned that Musk’s acquisition of Twitter would be a threat to Democracy. 

Simington said consumers ought not to fear Musk’s acquisition of Twitter, saying it would "enhance competition and better serve those Americans, the majority, who value free speech." 

Elon Musk gestures as he speaks during a press conference at SpaceX’s Starbase facility near Boca Chica Village in South Texas on February 10, 2022. Musk will buy Twitter for $44 billion. ( Getty Images / Getty Images)

Simington, who was appointed to the FCC by President Trump in 2020, said concerns about "concentration of ownership" were "unpersuasive." He pointed to entities like Google, YouTube, Facebook, the Washington Post, and the New York Times which are "owned or controlled by one or two people or a single family." 

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"The FCC cannot, and should not, block this sale. We should instead applaud Mr. Musk for doing something about a serious problem that government has so far failed to address," Simington said, adding: "as this experiment is clearly lawful, I for one look forward to seeing what comes of it." 

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