So, why does Elon Musk want Twitter so badly? Is it because he is such a big free speech advocate, that he wants to “save the world, ” save us all from BIG TECH?
Why does Elon Musk care so much about the number of bot accounts? Is it because he truly wants to ferret out foreign influences?
Why does Elon Musk want to reverse the bans on people’s accounts? Is it because he really cares about scientists, and conservatives ability to interact on the social media app?
The answer of course, is no to all these questions.
“We” are being manipulated into the vision of Elon being the free speech shield-bearer - but what has Musk revealed recently as to his true motivations for wanting Twitter.
Musk’s vision for Twitter is “one stop shopping.” E-commerce. He intends to bring social media, banking, auto loans, Amazon type buying, insurance, paying loans and utility bills, medical insurance, service estimates, you name it- under the umbrella of Twitter. Everything you do, buy, need - could be bought on the Twitter website. This is about power and money.
Why does he care about bot accounts? Because what he is buying is access to you, to me, to each and everyone of us on Twitter now or on Twitter in the future. He wants to know the exact number of warm bodies to sell to his investors. Remember - with the purchase of Twitter, he will have a client base maybe in the billions - before he even launches a single product! That client base includes some of the most influential, wealthy and educated people on the planet.
So, why is this such a bad thing?
Let’s go back to free speech.
What happens if you are rude, share porn, use inappropriate language or only use binary gender descriptors? What happens if you believe that Russia should take over Ukraine? What happens if you are just a contrarian or a “science denier.” What if you don’t believe in gay marriage or do believe in gay marriage? Who knows what the societal drivers in the future will be? Who knows what the next “thing” will be.
Because it is all good now to think that Twitter won’t change, evolve into something new and unknown. But the truth is that social media platforms morph into new identities as soon as new apps, technologies and even cultural political ideologies change.
Musk’s bigger plan for Twitter is to turn it into a “super app” that “acts as an operating system for people’s digital lives.”
Musk recently stated at Tesla’s annual shareholder meeting
“It’s a pretty grand vision. And obviously that could be started from scratch, But I think Twitter would help accelerate that by three to five years.”
(A little history - When Elon Musk first created Paypal, he called it “X”. Musk recently bought back the rights to use the name X from Paypal and has openly discussed the e-commerce/Twitter site using that name. )
Having a super app for commerce and social media means that the risk of getting kicked off Twitter becomes not just a question of free speech and censorship, but of financial risk to each and every person who relies of Twitter as a complete, one-stop e-commerce app.
All it would take is the tiniest pressure or threat of removing someone’s ability to pay a bill or collect a debt and the need to censor would go away as self- censorship would become de-rigueur. The amount of power such a corporation would hold over individuals, industries, even whole nations would be enormous.
Full stop - integrating a huge “social media” platform - in this case the most influential social media company in the world, with a complete e-commerce and financial services app is a very bad idea.
Just because a corporation “can” create such an entity, doesn’t necessarily mean it “should.” Once upon a time, long long ago, we had anti-trust legislation and a justice department that would enforce it. That now seems so anachronistic. Our federal government and Justice department seems to have become just another tool, a plaything, of large transnational corporate interests.