Twenty years ago mega rich people who had risen to the top of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs would buy a newspaper or two to satiate their need to control what the world thought in general and, more specifically, what the world thought of them. With the power of conventional media on the wane, Shirin Ghaffary argues in this piece that now mega rich people like Elon Must want to control Twitter – the ultimate platform via which the new global elite exerts disproportionate influence on the world at large: “Compared to other social media companies, Twitter is tiny.
For years, investors have criticized it for failing to achieve its full potential. Twitter hasn’t been able to acquire billions of users like Facebook (which has over 11 times more daily active users) or to grow a mega advertising business like Google-owned YouTube (which had over five times more revenue than Twitter last quarter).
But Elon Musk’s $43 billion offer to buy Twitter…shows how important and influential the company is, even when compared to its much larger rivals. There’s a good reason why Musk, the wealthiest person in the world, has already spent about $3 billion to buy the top stake in Twitter and is now spending his time and effort loudly proclaiming that he wants to entirely take over the company. Again, even if Musk is not planning to follow through with the deal, he’s still flexing his power and influence to pressure Twitter to run its business as he desires. The reason Twitter is valuable to Musk is, in essence, the same reason it’s valuable to politicians like former President Donald Trump, who for years pushed to say whatever he wanted on the platform without consequence…
For politicians, business leaders, celebrities, and journalists, Twitter is a key platform for amplifying their messages and controlling their own narratives. Musk’s focus on Twitter, and his efforts to influence how it functions and moderates its users, underscore just how important the company is to public discourse — irrespective of how much profit it makes — and raises questions about who should be able to control a company that holds so much power.”
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