Published in El Pais, 7 May 2022.
The news is everywhere that after initially being rejected Musk was able to come to an agreement to buy Twitter. The reaction has been mixed with some praising and others fearful of what may come of it. The fear is understandable, it is never a good thing for the richest man in the world to have complete control over a media outlet, although many billionaires already have a substantial ownership stake in many newspapers and television channels, the reality is it will unlikely be the catastrophe many expect it to be.
It is true that Musk has made some controversial remarks, and many are understandably worried that Twitter will become more of that. In the past he has compared Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to Hitler for his policy on vaccine mandates, has said COVID was overblown and defied stay at home orders by opening Tesla factories and threatening repercussions for those that did not return to work, as well as his tweets manipulating the stock and crypto markets.
The reality though is that while there may be slightly more controversial tweets than before, not much will change. The United States is a capitalist country which means that any third party or government intervention would be unable to prevent him from buying Twitter, but this same economic system can also be his downfall if he makes the wrong decision. Any attempt to protect hate tweets under the guise of freedom of speech will likely see an exodus of users who will no longer feel comfortable using the system. The billionaire could afford to lose a few million users but if he were to just treat it as his own personal media account it will not be around much longer.
There is also the reality that he may be too busy to run Twitter and pass the job off to someone else. Tesla stocks have already responded poorly to the announced purchase as investors fear that being the CEO of Twitter will take time away from running the car manufacturer, again for economic reasons he may switch to being a silent partner in order to have all his companies running smoothly.
Of course, I am speculating and could be completely wrong, but I think this whole thing is being blown out of proportion. Am I happy he is buying Twitter? No. Do I think he should be stopped from buying Twitter? Also no. Will Twitter change? Probably not but only time will tell.