How Could the Purchase of Shares by Elon Musk Affect Twitter?

Musk recently became Twitter's largest shareholder. How could this affect the platform? .

Twitter logo on an iPad screen

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LatinAmerican Post| Juan Manuel Londoño

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Leer en español: ¿Cómo podría afectar a Twitter la compra de sus acciones por Elon Musk?

Elon Musk revealed on Monday that he has acquired 9.2% of the shares in Twitter Inc, which is likely to make him the largest shareholder of this social network. This caused a 23% increase in the value of their shares.

At LatinAmerican Post, this event led us to ask ourselves the question: What are the consequences of one of the richest and most powerful men in the world having total influence over one of the most important social networks on the planet? In this article, we will try to answer this question.

Musk and Freedom of Expression, a Complicated Relationship

Elon Musk has been saying for years that he wants to build "his own social network." The tycoon has claimed in the past that Twitter, as a social network, "does not adhere to the principles of freedom of expression and fundamentally undermines democracy." Leaving aside the fact that Twitter is a private platform and can therefore regulate public speech as it wishes, and is not bound by respecting "free speech," Musk has never been entirely clear on what he wants. What do you mean by this term? Moreover, it seems that what bothers him most in this regard is the criticism that is extended toward him in these networks.

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Take for example the fact that Musk once proposed creating a Yelp-like service (an app used to rate restaurants by popular vote) to rate the work of journalists and media institutions. According to the tycoon's Twitter account, it would be a place "where the public can rate the core truth of any article and track the credibility score over time of each journalist, editor, and publication." Considering that there is a large percentage of publications that are dedicated to spreading stories that can make the public uncomfortable, you don't have to be a journalism expert to know that this is a bad idea.

Although it is unlikely that a system like this will begin to be implemented on Twitter in general, we could see a change in the way the platform works. We could see the resurgence of offensive speech, or that goes against science, that would fall under that banner of total freedom of expression that Musk promotes.

Recall, for example, that during the coronavirus pandemic, Musk was one of the main opponents of working from home, reopening his plant in California in 2021 against the health regulations of local authorities. “This is fascist. This is not democratic. This is not freedom. Give people their damn freedom back," Musk said, referring to the regulations.