By Tiyashi Datta
(Reuters) – Florida Governor Ron DeSantis will announce on Wednesday he is entering the 2024 presidential race during a Twitter Spaces discussion with billionaire Elon Musk, the first time such an announcement will be made on social media.
Musk and DeSantis will host the event on Twitter Spaces at 6 p.m. ET (2200 GMT) and the session will be moderated by tech entrepreneur and close Musk confidant David Sacks.
WHAT IS TWITTER SPACES?
It is a feature on Musk-owned social media platform Twitter where users can have live audio conversations. They can join, listen and speak in a “Space,” according to Twitter.
Any user with 600 or more followers can host a Space. Up to 13 people can speak in a Space at any given time, including the host and two co-hosts. Spaces are public and can be accessed by anyone.
Musk has previously appeared on Spaces to talk about Twitter’s performance, his plans for electric vehicle maker Tesla, and the global economy.
WHAT HAS MUSK SAID ABOUT DESANTIS?
Musk, who tweets liberally on politics and economics, said during a conference hosted by the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday he was not “at this time planning to endorse any particular candidate.”
Musk, a self-proclaimed “free speech absolutist,” said in November he would support DeSantis in 2024 if the Florida governor were to run for president.
“My preference for the 2024 presidency is someone sensible and centrist. I had hoped that would the case for the Biden administration, but have been disappointed so far,” Musk had said on Twitter.
In June last year he said DeSantis would easily defeat Biden in the election.
IS MUSK A REPUBLICAN?
Musk, who had previously said he supported Democrats and had voted for President Joe Biden, urged his Twitter followers in November to elect a Republican Congress in U.S. midterms.
Musk, chief executive of Tesla, has been critical of the Biden administration for their proposals to tax billionaires and give more tax incentives to union-made EVs.
Twitter, which Musk bought last year, reinstated former U.S. President Donald Trump’s Twitter account in November, following his ban from the social media service for inciting violence. Twitter then reinstated the account of Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene who had been banned for violating its COVID misinformation policies.
WHO IS DAVID SACKS?
Sacks, a venture capitalist, is the founder of business networking site Yammer and a former colleague of Musk’s at payment service PayPal. According to NBC, he is a major Republican donor supporting DeSantis and is considered to be part of Musk’s inner circle on decisions about Twitter.
WILL TWITTER BENEFIT FROM THE SPACES CHAT?
Musk said on Tuesday: “I am interested in Twitter being somewhat of a town square.”
Twitter is eyeing political ad dollars after several corporate advertisers have fled since Musk took over in October.
The company said in January it will reverse its 2019 ban on political advertisement, bringing its policies closer to Meta Platform’s Facebook and Alphabet Inc’s YouTube.
(Reporting by Tiyashi Datta in Bengaluru; Editing by Sayantani Ghosh and Chris Reese)
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