Elton John has quit Twitter. The British music icon announced he was leaving the social media platform on Dec. 9, making him the latest celebrity to abandon the platform since billionaire Elon Musk acquired it. Currently on his last world tour, John blamed Twitter's new policy change for the decision to leave. "All my life I've tried to use music to bring people together. Yet it saddens me to see how misinformation is now being used to divide our world," John tweeted to his 1.1 million followers. "I've decided to no longer use Twitter, given their recent change in policy which will allow misinformation to flourish unchecked." Musk, who acquired Twitter in the fall, replied to the "Rocket Man" star an hour later. "I love your music. Hope you come back. Is there any misinformation in particular that you're concerned about?" Musk asked.
John's departure from Twitter comes as Musk faces controversy over the so-called "Twitter Files." Journalist Matt Taibbi published internal Twitter communications Musk shared with him last week. In the run-up to the presidential election between Trump and Hunter Biden's father, Joe Biden, the "Twitter Files" detailed how Twitter blocked users from sharing the New York Post article about Hunter's alleged leaked laptop files. Taibbi released a second installment of the "Twitter Files" on Dec. 8. He reported on a new batch of internal Twitter communications published that showed employees were creating "blacklists" to prevent "disfavored tweets from trending." In the weeks since the Tesla CEO took control of Twitter in a $44 billion deal, a series of changes have been implemented, including charging users for a blue tick. Also, there has been fierce criticism following a decision to roll back a policy aimed at combating misinformation regarding COVID-19 and restoring some suspended accounts, including former U.S. President Donald Trump. The company's trust and safety team, responsible for preventing misinformation and harmful content from spreading, has also been cut by half under Musk.
I love your music. Hope you come back. Is there any misinformation in particular that you’re concerned about?— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 9, 2022
The 75-year-old singer joins a long list of celebrities who have recently quit Twitter, including Gigi Hadid, Shonda Rhimes, White Stripes guitarist Jack White, Whoopi Goldberg, filmmaker Rob Reiner, Trent Reznor, and singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles. Celebs have cited increased misinformation and hate speech as reasons for leaving the social media platform. White said he chose to leave because Musk reactivated Trump's account, which he called "absolutely disgusting." Musk has described himself as a "free-speech absolutist" and has promised that Twitter will become a more open venue for public debate. However, opponents have said the platform's lack of moderation would lead to a proliferation of misleading claims and hateful rhetoric that may threaten the safety of vulnerable users.