whatWhat was he going to do in this mess? When Elon Musk came up with the idea of buying the social network Twitter this winter, it was to everyone’s amazement. Why would the richest man in the world spend 44,000 million dollars (44,100 million euros) to gain control of a forum where he freely expressed himself with more than 100 million subscribers? To defend freedom of expression, this libertarian responds, who says he wants to create the digital agora of the XXIme century, a forum for free and peaceful debate. Elon Musk is right in his observation, social media has become increasingly polarized, overrun by extremists, bearers of hate, manipulation and riot. But is Elon Musk the solution?
This is not the first time that a billionaire has owned a newspaper empire in the United States. Whether it’s Michael Bloomberg, Rupert Murdoch (Wall Street Journal) or Jeff Bezos (Washington Post), they all leave their mark with greater or lesser force. As for the main social network, Facebook, it is controlled by Mark Zuckerberg. Nothing new, unfortunately, one would be tempted to say.
What is unprecedented, however, is Elon Musk loudly voicing his libertarian views (he has the right to do so) and becoming more and more directly involved in political and international debate, proposing his plans for peace in Ukraine and Taiwan. In agora 2.0, he can’t be moderator and keynote speaker. Similarly, Musk has an empire behind him, made up of Tesla and SpaceX. It is true that it claims to work for the good of humanity, but it is in the direct exercise of political power, including war, as evidenced by the use of its Starlink satellites in Ukraine, in Iran, or its silence in China, where it must defend the financial interests of its Tesla factory located in Shanghai. The risk of conflict of interest, in this man who encloses his companies like a bunker, is greater. In agora 2.0 as in any other place, he cannot be a referee and a player at the same time.
Once the sale is made, it is advisable to limit the inconvenience. Financially, the company was in ruins, with a paltry turnover of 5.2 billion dollars, twenty-five times less than that of the Facebook group. Its reinvention is necessary, while the network was deserted by moderate subscribers. Mr. Musk claims to bring them back, in particular by fighting fake accounts, but he will no doubt reopen the floodgates to polarization by unlocking a whole series of suspended accounts.
Most of the debate concerns the moderation and propagation of conspiracy theories. Let us remember that the most problematic network so far has been Facebook. If Twitter was at the center of the debates, it was because it was Donald Trump’s favorite social network. Mr. Musk announced the creation of a moderation council, made up of various personalities. One of the first tests will be the restoration or not of the account of the former president of the United States. His banishment became apparent in January 2021, when he attempted a de facto coup. Two years later, Trump no longer has a speaker, but he continues to threaten democracy. As long as he claims the election was stolen, Trump should not get the account back from him. As for Elon Musk, a specialist in trolls and manipulations as he demonstrated in 2018 with Tesla, to the point that the US Stock Exchange police almost banned him from tweeting on the subject, he would do well to give a promise of serenity to live up to it. of the mission that has been proposed. His first move should be to mute his account.
#Twitter #Elon #Musk #solution