Binance's CEO, who pledged $500 million to Elon Musk's Twitter takeover, said 'free speech is very hard to define'

Binance's CEO, who pledged $500 million to Elon Musk's Twitter takeover, said 'free speech is very hard to define'
Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao.Eric PIERMONT / AFP) (Photo by ERIC PIERMONT/AFP via Getty Images
  • Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao told Bloomberg that while he supports free speech, it's "very hard to define."
  • Binance previously promised to give $500 million to Elon Musk's efforts to take Twitter private.

Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao has weighed in on the heated free speech debate that has consumed social media.

The company is one of a handful that pledged funds to "free speech absolutist" Elon Musk's bid to take Twitter private, promising $500 million. Zhao told Bloomberg in a lengthy interview published this week that he's all for the cause.

"We want to support free speech," Zhao said, before Bloomberg asked if that sentiment applies to his company's decision to sue Forbes in 2020 for defamation over a report saying Binance was dodging regulation. (The suit was later dropped).

To bring the suit, Binance hired lawyer Charles Harder, who's best known for teaming up with billionaire investor Peter Thiel in his fight against Gawker Media that eventually bankrupted the outlet.

"Free speech is very hard to define," Zhao said in the interview, maintaining that the article is inaccurate. "I've never talked to Charles Harder. Our team handled it."


Free speech has been a key driver in Musk's acquisition of Twitter. The Tesla and SpaceX billionaire has been vocal about his desire to ease Twitter's policies on harmful content. The platform and its moderation decisions have been thrust into a culture war as conservative figures claim Big Tech is stifling their freedom of speech by flagging and removing posts that break their rules.

Zhao also said the suit had with Binance's decision to invest $200 million in Forbes' plans to go public via a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC. The deal may be scrapped, however, as The New York Times reported in late May, after investors showed a decline in interest in the deals.

Zhao, who is worth $18.5 billion, also discussed with Bloomberg his company's mission and his stance on money. The outlet spoke to former Binance employees and investors who described the iron grip that Zhao has over his company.