What does Musk have in mind for Twitter?
Tesla founder Elon Musk wants to buy Twitter and has made an offer of 43 billion dollars. Prior to this he made himself the online platform's biggest shareholder by purchasing 9.2 percent of its stock. The billionaire has repeatedly criticised Twitter for restricting freedom of expression. Commentators are concerned for the platform's future.
Make social media assume responsibility
Politiken is outraged that one individual can have such influence over a medium with such a global reach:
“It is utterly absurd that Elon Musk can offer to buy the platform and drop all its guardrails on content regulation. His takeover bid for Twitter is a piercing alarm bell that must galvanise lawmakers in the US and the EU. Social media are a critical part of public discourse, and yet they have still not been made to take responsibility for managing and regulating their own content. Perhaps like all other media they should be held to account for their content. There is no time to lose. Before Musk or some other billionaire seriously lets the reins slip.”
China could have a say in the future
Musk could use Twitter to push for global freedom of speech, The Daily Telegraph comments, but sees one major catch:
“The founder of Paypal, SpaceX and Tesla is politically tolerant. ... A Musk-owned Twitter would probably be an improvement - except in one potentially important way. His biggest company, Tesla, relies for a large portion of sales, most of its growth and a lot of its production on China, whose government is known for punishing billionaires in one forum if it can't get at them in another. What will Mr Musk do if Beijing takes umbrage at some trend or meme on Twitter and decides to punish Tesla for it?”
A self-destructing culture
Economia Online expects Musk to use the channel for his own purposes:
“All this is likely to lead to an accelerated decline in Twitter's importance in the public space, of which there are already early signs. If all goes well, this process of self-destruction will be the last gasp of a culture and digital economy model that values quantity over quality and subordinates everything to an unregulated advertising market. The legislation that will be introduced in the European Union and elsewhere in the world will limit the abuse of public space and allow for healthier competition.”
Business genius but also moody despot
Trends-Tendances doubts that Musk's plan to promote freedom of expression on Twitter will benefit users:
“The question is how far freedom of expression can go. Without moderation, one person's freedom can sometimes pose a threat to others. Moreover, algorithms are programmed to give more visibility to hate speech and offensive statements - the opposite of democracy. ... And now Elon Musk controls the smallest but most influential social network. We'll have to wait and see what he makes of it. Because Elon Musk may be a business genius, but he is also a moody despot when it comes to his business dealings. ”