Elon Musk’s AUD $61 billion purchase of Twitter has given the world’s richest man the power to shape and control one of the largest and most influential social media platforms. While Musk’s description of Twitter as ‘the digital town square’ is debatable, it is true that it is used by millions of people across the world to access news, share ideas and build community.
While Twitter is hardly the most popular social network, its popularity with academics, journalists and politicians has meant it plays a significant role in shaping news around the world. Musk claims that his purchase is about defending free speech, yet in bringing Twitter under his control, Musk is essentially trying to buy the power to shape public debate. That should make anyone with an interest in democracy nervous.