FRONTLINE: Elon Musk's Twitter Takeover
Premieres Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2023 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV / PBS App and Youtube + Encore Thursday, Oct. 19 at 9 p.m. on KPBS 2
Nearly one year ago, Elon Musk completed his acquisition of the social media company then called Twitter. At a time of intense polarization in the U.S. and worldwide, the move placed the richest man in the world in charge of one of the world’s most important platforms for news and political debate – and also put Musk squarely at the center of an ongoing debate about the limits of free speech and the spread of lies online.
Now, a revelatory and authoritative two-hour FRONTLINE documentary, "Elon Musk’s Twitter Takeover," investigates Musk’s journey from one of the platform’s most provocative users to its owner – and probes the far-reaching impact his decisions have already had on post-COVID American politics, speech and culture.
From the award-winning team behind "Amazon Empire: The Rise and Reign of Jeff Bezos" and "The Facebook Dilemma," "Elon Musk’s Twitter Takeover" is packed with remarkable interviews and firsthand accounts from Musk’s former colleagues, journalists, authors and academics, it’s a gripping portrait of one of the most influential men and mediums in modern history.
As it traces two parallel stories – Musk’s political transformation during the COVID pandemic and Twitter’s struggle to deal with misinformation – the documentary pulls back the curtain on the influential social media platform’s inner workings both before and after Musk’s takeover. In extraordinary, in-depth interviews, former Twitter employees give remarkable first-person accounts of how controversial content moderation decisions were made in the pre-Musk era, including the banning of former President Donald Trump after Jan. 6, 2021.
Former employees and other sources also detail impulsive changes Musk made inside Twitter, now renamed X, after his takeover, shedding new light on the questions about free speech, hate speech and safety that have marked Musk’s tenure at the helm of the platform.
From director, producer and correspondent James Jacoby and producer Anya Bourg, "Elon Musk’s Twitter Takeover" also explores Twitter’s relationship with the U.S. government, a Congressional investigation into the platform’s treatment of conservative voices, Musk’s use of the platform to target his perceived enemies, and the ramifications of his Twitter takeover on his empire of companies and influence around the globe.
With the 2024 U.S. presidential election approaching, the debate about online free speech ongoing, and Musk more controversial and powerful than ever, this documentary is a must-watch look inside "Elon Musk’s Twitter Takeover" – a profound investigation of how he has remade the platform in his own image, and the implications for America and the world.
Watch On Your Schedule:
“Elon Musk’s Twitter Takeover” will be available to watch in full at pbs.org/frontline and in the PBS App starting Oct. 10, 2023, at 7/6c. It will premiere on KPBS TV and on FRONTLINE’s YouTube channel at 9/8c.
Join The Conversation:
A FRONTLINE production with Left/Right Docs. The director and correspondent is James Jacoby. The writers and producers are Anya Bourg and James Jacoby. The co-producers are Christina Avalos and Chris O’Coin. The senior producers are Dan Edge and Frank Koughan. The editor-in-chief and executive producer of FRONTLINE is Raney Aronson-Rath. The documentary is distributed internationally by PBS International.