‘Amassing of wealth is an opportunity for good deeds, not hubris’. Elon Musk has another ace up on his sleeves with an all-cash buyout of one of the most popular social networking platforms. The publicly owned Twitter company is now very privately held negating the very ‘spirit’ of social networking.
- “Man is born free but everywhere in chains”- Rousseau. To be able to express to one’s content is fundamental to a free society. Free speech is always an illusion, government across the world are known to put surveillance against political opponents and criticisms by citizen. Elon Musk, the modern crusader of free speech, stands to do away with even the moderation of the social media giants.
- Elon Musk refers free speech within the broad contours framed by the law of the land. Government should stop censorship in private stance. There have been allegations that the shareholders and employees of twitter have been deeply political and their partisanship towards US Democrats is far from the ideals of free speech. Musk promises to free the platform from the biases.
- With internet ad revenues, tracking and monetising data attracted by FAGMA (Facebook , Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Apple) oligarchy are multiple times that of twitter, the rules of the game is going to change. Tech companies, who do not disclose in full, the usage of customer information now run the risk of regulatory hindsight with respect to violation of data privacy of customers. This can even wipe out the existence of these companies by single stroke of government legislation. Elon Musk promises transparency and more empowerment of customers to decide how their data is stored, tracked and disseminated.
- On paper, the level of interest shown in the sale of Twitter far outweighs the site’s commercial significance. Globally, Twitter doesn’t feature in the top 10 of the most popular social networking sites in the world, far outpaced even by relative newcomers like Tiktok. Twitter, the company, has only declared positive revenue twice in its entire history – in 2018 and 2019 – and in other years relies on metrics like engagement or growth in number of users to convince investors that it is worth keeping. The site has also been criticised for its mishandling of misinformation, particularly when disseminated by prominent people like former US President Donald Trump. However, it is the preferred platform for journalists and government representatives, particularly diplomats, two key constituencies whose participation in the site allows it to penetrate beyond those who are actually registered as users.
- How much safety is guaranteed by an individual for a social media platform. Individual biase of Musk is easier to prevail and his whims can be made into reality. Jack Sweeney, the teenager who is famous for creating a bot that tracks Musk’s private jet movements, suspects that his account would be shut down after Musk bought Twitter. This comes as Musk repeatedly declared that he intends to take on bot accounts. It was also reported in the past that he was not too happy in the past about the location of his private jet being shared.
- “Listen, I can’t do miracles ok”. Musk with not so amiable record of liberty of expression and beliefs in democratic process, twitter acquisition is potent with dangers of misrepresentation and repressions. Musk has openly supported interfering in the democratic process of Venezuela by foreign agents. His mental polarity and arrogance was on full display when the tech billionaire teased his followers about buying Coca-Cola. He even added that he will buy the cold drink major to ‘put the cocaine back in’. He is going to buy McDonald’s and fix all the ice cream machines”. He steadfastly wishes to lord over what he surveys. He can muzzle people’s choices by his sheer power of wealth.
- “A public platform that is maximally trusted and broadly inclusive is extremely important to the future of civilisation.” Many view Elon Musk with niggardly respect for governments, as potential nuisance and a potent threat. Turning a blind eye to violent and abusive speech against users may be on rise.
- Already there have been murmurs doing rounds about the future of Tesla which is facing competition from traditional automotive companies who have clawed back in Electric Vehicles segment. Twitter acquisition is seen as a hedge against failure of Tesla. Further, Twitter which provides millions of users news content gives a platform to reach out which can counter Jeff Bezos’s full scale daily newspaper ‘Washington Post’. Free speech is just an alibi