Tesla founder and crypto-bro Elon Musk has just become the major shareholder of Twitter after the billionaire purchased a major chunk of the social media platform. Over 73 million worth of shares chunk, at a value of $4 billion that immediately saw a 25 per cent spike in the company’s values.
The move comes after Musk openly criticised Twitter, questioning their dedication to America’s First Amendment and regarding free speech. According to reports, Musk’s purchase was made back in March 14 but on March 25 the controversial billionaire was Tweeting his displeasure with the platform saying that he was even considering launching his own version.
Free speech is essential to a functioning democracy.
Do you believe Twitter rigorously adheres to this principle?
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 25, 2022
Despite Musk’s criticism, he is an active used of the social media platform and boasts some 80 million followers. He has used the platform to discuss everything from selling from Tesla shares to feuding with rapper Azealia Banks and sending Tesla shareholders in a spin after making marijuana jokes. Then there’s the transphobic memes and calling a cave explorer who rescued Thai children trapped in a cave a “pedo”. All without consequence. So the argument of free speech has thin meaning in that context.
Musk remains a polarising figure – hero to some, villain to many. His purchase of a social media site that also doubles as a news source and digital publisher should be a concern. Not for issues of free speech but because free speech has become a rally cry for those peddling misinformation of the worst kind.
Plus, billionaires owning information networks is problematic by nature. When the Washington Post was purchased by Jeff Bezos, things didn’t change all too much and the news outlet remains one of the most trusted sources. Slowly but surely however things started to slip through.
The Jeff Bezos owned Washington Post's balanced and impartial coverage of the "billionaires' space race". pic.twitter.com/ABkNNGzKfo
— Bad Writing Takes 🖊️🏳️🌈 (@BadWritingTakes) July 21, 2021
Musk’s purchase of Twitter comes after its founder, Jack Dorsey, departed the company in November 2021. Prior to his departure, in 2020, a hedge fund backed by Republican mega-donor/billionaire Paul Singer – bought a sizeable amount of Twitter shares in the hopes of eventually ousting Dorsey due to his de-platforming of Trump and other right wing figures who were caught breaking Twitter’s rules.
It’s not a coincidence that the platform has become the plaything of billionaires with agendas. Information and its distribution is power, and when you can control what people who can access one of the world’s biggest information platforms…
Let’s see how this goes shall we?