LONDON - The tech giant’s shares (NYSE:TWTR) initially spiked on the announcement of the deal but have since trended downward as the flamboyant and mercurial entrepreneurial visionary injects a potent jolt of uncertainty and volatility for investors into a hitherto relatively stable if controversial brand. In his first tweet, the self-proclaimed “free-speech absolutist” and aspiring extra-terrestrial said, "…a public platform that is maximally trusted and… inclusive is extremely important..." Several of Musk’s other utterances would, however, seem to give the lie to his avowed intention to preserve Twitter as a “public platform” and “digital town square,” such as his suggestion the platform might become subscription based.
Twitter wields the power indeed to silence mighty princes but is it really a public forum, or an echo chamber of selective censorship?
Musk is never one to shy from rocking the boat and making some waves, so the only absolute is that change is in the wind, and The Yuan has therefore assayed to sniff that wind and has confabbed for that purpose with Dexter Thillien, Lead Analyst, Technology & Telecoms, The Economist Intelligence Unit, who offers his take on the potential repercussions of this earth-shattering takeover.
The Yuan: How do you think this acquisition will affect Twitter’s status as the “digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated”?
Thillien: Elon Musk has bought Twitter, but there are more questions than answers thus far. The only thing we know for sure is that Musk considers himself a “free-speech absolutist,” so that will be what the platform will primarily focus on from now on.
The Yuan: One person’s free speech is another one’s sedition, profanity, illegal hate speech, incitement to violence, obscenity… Musk’s notions ofThe content herein is subject to copyright by The Yuan. All rights reserved. The content of the services is owned or licensed to The Yuan. Such content from The Yuan may be shared and reprinted but must clearly identify The Yuan as its original source. Content from a third-party copyright holder identified in the copyright notice contained in such third party’s content appearing in The Yuan must likewise be clearly labeled as such.