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26 Worldwide concern grows as Elon Musk buys Twitter

Worldwide concern grows as Elon Musk buys Twitter

Culture

Earlier in April, Elon Musk had become Twitter’s largest shareholder with a 9.2% stake. Ten days after he made an offer to buy the whole company, the world’s richest man secured a $44 billion deal to take complete control over the American social media platform. The new owner aims at changing some of its original features…

He couldn’t help it. While he had become Twitter’s largest shareholder earlier in the same month, the 50-year-old billionaire bought the social media platform on Monday, April 25th, for $54.20 per share, thus valuing the firm at about $44 billion. With more than 80 million followers on Twitter, the owner of Tesla and Space X was already a star on the platform. Now Elon Musk becomes the social media’s new owner and sees it as “the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated”.

 

The news quickly took a political turn in the United States and sowed division among the highest levels of the State. Although the White House declined to comment on the takeover, spokesperson Jen Psaki declared that President Joe Biden “has long been concerned about the power of large social media platforms”, including Twitter among others, to spread misinformation. What can be expected from this fervent advocate of free speech? He who, like former President Donald Trump with “Truth Social”, has always dreamed of founding his own social media… The South African-born billionaire has already announced some upcoming changes.

What is Elon Musk’s goal? Making Twitter a free speech sanctuary. For that matter, he will first target the social media’s content moderation policy, which he compares to censorship. In a statement announcing the deal to the board of shareholders made public on April 14th, Elon Musk stated that the platform would neither prosper nor fulfil its social calling in its current form: “Twitter has tremendous potential. I look forward to working with the company and the community of users to unlock it”. Obviously, the billionaire’s prolific ideas will not be without consequences.

 

Tongues are starting to loosen on the platform, as some are pleased by the billionaire’s new purchase. American rapper Ice Cube tweeted: “Free at last!”. Indeed, Elon Musk advocates for more freedom, but many fear the return of those who have been banned from Twitter, such as Donald Trump whose account had been closed after his incitation to hatred led to the January 2021 riot at the Capitole. Even worse, it could unleash the waves of racist, homophobic, and sexist tweets that had nothing to do on the platform thanks to the Tongues are starting to loosen on the platform, as some are pleased by the billionaire’s new purchase. American rapper Ice Cube tweeted: “Free at last!”. Indeed, Elon Musk advocates for more freedom, but many fear the return of those who have been banned from Twitter, such as Donald Trump whose account had been closed after his incitation to hatred led to the January 2021 riot at the Capitole. Even worse, it could unleash the waves of racist, homophobic, and sexist tweets that had nothing to do on the platform thanks to the existing content moderation system that Elon Musk intends to change. The latter considers Twitter’s moderation policy too interventionist. In a TED interview made on April 14th, he explained he wanted to buy the social media platform to turn it into “an inclusive arena for free speech”. In addition to that main disturbing measure, the billionaire has in mind to introduce new functions, like an edit button, or an open-source algorithm to create more transparency. He also wants to take Twitter off the New York Stock Exchange and transition to a private-held company, which frighten observers who think Elon Musk will eventually use his new status to advertise his own brands Tesla and Space X. To be continued…