Social media is beneficial, as it keeps people in touch with their friends and acquaintances across the globe and helps businesses of all types connect with various new clients. But recently, many sites on social networks have taken what was once a place to express different thoughts and opinions in a free and open way without judgment and transformed it into something only for those who believe a particular way, basically declaring that those who disagree have no rights under the First Amendment and that the freedom of expression it grants is no longer relevant.
Being among the biggest and most well-known social-media platforms around the globe, Twitter has long been the most oppressive against rights of free expression. However, due to recent changes in corporate-share ownership, this may change very soon. That’s because of the South African billionaire and head of the world's leading manufacturer of electric vehicles, Elon Musk. As per the New York Times, Musk just became Twitter’s most powerful shareholder. His purchase of $2.9 billion in shares is equivalent to 9.2 percent of Twitter’s total, which gives him an unparalleled majority in the company. (By comparison, this quantity of shares is four times greater than what Twitter’s founder and chief executive, Jack Dorsey, owns.) Holding the majority of the company’s shares will give him an enormous say in what is happening and what policies it follows, at least in the beginning. The question is, how will Musk exercise those rights?
Musk is what he refers to as a “free speech absolutist.” In essence, this means that Musk believes in freedom of speech above all else. As an online giant known for thriving on obstructing the basic right to free speech, Twitter should be terrified of the possible consequences.
Another reason to make it “sweat,” as Australia bureau chief of the Canadian conservative publication Rebel News, Avi Yemini, mentioned, is the fact that Musk has said at times that he's number one, unhappy with the way Twitter handles various issues, and two, he might change Twitter if he were in the position of directing it.
Indeed, only a week before his purchase was made widely known, rendering Musk Twitter’s largest shareholder, he announced that he would “shake up” the social-media industry. Although his purchase of the stock was widely discussed this week, SEC (U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission) filings revealed that Musk actually signed the deal on March 14.
Ten minutes later, he published an online questionnaire on Twitter asking users to decide if they believe that Twitter “rigorously adheres” to the value of freedom of speech in a “functioning democracy.” He stated that the “consequences from this survey will be crucial. Please make sure you vote with care.” Twitter is apparently in a position of having “consequences” enforced on it. A massive 70 percent of users stated that Twitter does not believe that freedom of speech is essential.
Perhaps that is because Twitter strongly opposed and dissected any information about Joe Biden or his infamously criminal son Hunter that might have been detrimental to his chances of winning the 2020 presidential race. (Remember that laptop scandal?) Furthermore, the site’s oppression of conservatives has been glaringly obvious, with conservatives such as former President Donald Trump and others being exiled from the site, either for a short period or permanently. Twitter has also stated that should Trump ever return to the White House, they would not allow him to use their platform. Therefore, even if the vast majority of Americans select him to be their president, Twitter would still prohibit accounts in his name. It's likely true that they would, as they have already banned opinions claiming critical race theory to be racist–or, for example, that the transformation of a male child into a female one isn't right or even that Jesus Christ reigns supreme. There's a reason why people aren't confident in the company’s ability to be neutral.
Now that Musk holds such a huge amount of stock, it's increasingly likely that he will make some pretty amazing and bias-limiting adjustments to Twitter. It could mean that the 2022 midterms and the 2024 presidential election will not be as heavily influenced by only one political group. Perhaps America is finally capable of seeing the reality of what truly is, not just what the left-leaning think should be.