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Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Opinion

Elon Musk should not have control over Twitter


Elon Musk with a speech bubble

Cindy Muñoz/The Cougar

Elon Musk should not have the power to control Twitter. As a billionaire and the CEO of Tesla, Musk’s influence over the app will lean towards benefiting people like him and creating an unregulated environment. 

Social media is one of the biggest tools that companies use to gain an upper hand in a competitive market. With Elon Musk acquiring Twitter for $44 billion dollars, many are worried about the changes the billionaire will make to the app. 

One of the things Elon Musk plans to do on Twitter is to lessen the censorship present on the app and allow for more free speech. 

Although this might sound like a good idea at first, free speech is not just saying whatever you want whenever you want. 

Free speech in the world of billionaires would be influencing their large followings regardless if the information is correct or not. 

If people with large followings will no longer be held accountable for the things they say online under the guise of free speech, the consequences will trickle into the real world. 

For example, the pandemic was one of society’s peaks where misinformation was rampant and caused lives to be lost. 

Researchers found that 67 percent of people actively spent more time on the news which made them vulnerable to myths and false remedies regarding COVID-19.  

In a study where people were shown true and untrue articles regarding COVID-19, people chose to share 40 percent of the untrue articles. 

This comes to show that people are unable to differentiate what is true and what is false. 

In a recent incident, an 18-year-old white man committed an act of terrorism that killed 10 Black people. 

He was motivated by theories he found online that promoted white nationalism. These theories were pushed by conservatives on several platforms for years including Twitter.

Social media is one of the biggest influencers of thought and if billionaires have the ability to buy their way into these platforms to push free speech without restrictions, it creates a dangerous environment. 

A lot of the people who push for free speech do not have the right intentions in mind.

With that in mind, billionaires like Elon Musk should not be given the power to control a social media platform as influential as Twitter. 

Elon Musk’s intentions with the platform will not make it a better place. It will only give power to the wrong hands. 

Cindy Rivas Alfaro is a journalism sophomore who can be reached at [email protected]

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