Elon Musk and Twitter: When the troll hijacks the platform

opinion takeover attempt

Elon Musk’s Twitter stunt – When the troll hijacks the platform

Many changes in recent years on Twitter are likely to be a thorn in Elon Musk's side, writes WELT author Benedikt Fuest Many changes in recent years on Twitter are likely to be a thorn in Elon Musk's side, writes WELT author Benedikt Fuest

Many changes in recent years on Twitter are likely to be a thorn in Elon Musk’s side, writes WELT author Benedikt Fuest

Source: Brendan Smialowski/AFP; Benoît Fuest/WORLD

Elon Musk is trying to take control of Twitter to promote his ideas on freedom of expression. Musk’s comments on Twitter got him into a lot of trouble. With his takeover, the climate should not improve.

AWhen Elon Musk launched a free speech investigation on the platform shortly before joining Twitter in late March, he warned users that voting could have consequences.

Now, what he meant by that is clear: Musk wants to take control of Twitter himself because, according to the SEC filing, he believes in the social network’s potential as a platform for freedom of movement. expression and freedom of expression in the world.

In order to enforce his idea of ​​free speech on Twitter, Musk wants to take the company private. If he succeeds, he could run Twitter the way he likes it, without a board of directors overseeing him, without other shareholders asking questions.

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Musk is willing to invest more than $40 billion for this freedom – not a huge effort for the world’s richest man with a fortune of around $260 billion according to Forbes.

For the rest of us Twitter users, however, Musk’s investment doesn’t bode well. Because Musk is known for the kind of freedoms he would love to claim on Twitter. For years, he used the network for personal attacks on his critics.

Musk falsely called another user a pedophile. He posted misleading information about Tesla’s stock price via Twitter and was fined $20 million by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.

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In a February tweet, he compared Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to Adolf Hitler and called critics of his visions mobility idiots. In short, Musk would be the ultimate Twitter troll at the helm of the platform.

For users who have been clamoring for Twitter with less hate and bullying, less extremism, and less aggressiveness in debates for years, the past few years have brought relatively good changes. They have been able to regulate who can reply to their messages for quite some time.

You can report posts that break the rules. Posts containing fake news and propaganda will be flagged as such, as is currently the case with many Russian state media propaganda posts.

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Yet all these changes in recent years should be a thorn in Elon Musk’s side, as he takes radical positions on freedom of expression, which he openly admits in tweets. He calls himself a “free speech absolutist” and writes in his investigation on the subject: “Freedom of speech is essential to the functioning of a democracy”.

But Musk overlooks the fact that it is the state’s responsibility to uphold the principle of free speech. It is not the job of a private company to smuggle radical statements by minorities to an audience of millions under the guise of free speech.

Musk will remark that if he pulls off his coup and then has to deal with social media rules in Europe in the third parallel executive president: At least in this country, free speech is not an absolute good. Anyone who abuses the right to use hate speech on Twitter runs into state rules that even a billionaire cannot overturn.

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