Politics, personal data and fintech: what is Elon Musk looking for with his arrival on Twitter | The reasons behind the multi-million dollar purchase

“The reason why I have acquired Twitter is because it is important for the future of civilization to have a digital public square, where a diverse range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy way, without resulting in violence,” published the new CEO of the company. birdie Social Network, Elon Muskon October 27.

After months of back and forth, the South African tycoon – who rarely does not get what he wants – managed to keep Twitter. His landing in the social network born in 2006 in Silicon Valley caused heated reactions from celebrities and movie and music figures to politicians, activists and journalists, and the reasons for the purchase are the subject of press speculation and public debate.

It is known that the owner of Tesla has great ambitions for his favorite social network, in which he always expressed that freedom of expression should be guaranteed, of which he assumes himself as a fundamentalist. Nevertheless, It seems difficult to imagine that the richest man in the world does not seek to obtain an economic or, even more, political profit from this acquisition.

A free speech fundamentalist

Known for his histrionics, the mogul projects an image of unpredictability that surprises fans and competitors alike.

In this context, Musk is an active opinion maker of North American and world politics. Although he does not define himself as either left or right and has lukewarmly spoken out against Donald Trump, the South African is concerned about the quality of the democratic debate and expressed several times his desire to change Twitter’s policy, clean up the social network of bots and make the platform transparent. But, Is that reason enough to spend $44 billion on a company that doesn’t seem to be in its prime?

This is how the journalist specialized in technology explains it Stephen Magnani: “The economic prospects of Twitter, despite being very installed, are not good. Somehow it is being overtaken, like Facebook, by other social networks more to the taste of young people, such as TikTok. Everything indicates that it is not a big business and that its time to be one is running out, ”he describes in an article published in Page 12. And he adds: “After its last earnings report, investors showed their dissatisfaction with the results and the shares fell 2%.”

For her part, the digital activist Beatrice Busaniche sees a financing problem in the near future from the founder of Tesla. For the president of the Vía Libre Foundation, recent layoffs at the company (Friday, November 4 announced the reduction of the staff in half) may “have results” in terms of adjusting financial costs, but will have an impact when it comes to content moderation. “One of the issues on which Musk entered the strongest on his arrival at Twitter was to dismantle all the teams that worked in content moderation, monitoring and ethics areas in machine learning.. And when I say ‘dismantle’ I mean he laid off entire teams. From having 10, 15, 20 or 100 people working to nobody”, explains Busaniche.

And warns: “We know that the figure of 44 billion dollars is an exorbitant number and that Twitter has been having financial problems, but this policy of enabling anything on the platform can mean a boycott of advertisers, on which it depends.”

in search of data

In a recent article published in the American media voxjournalist Sara Morrison wonders how at risk personal data is of users with the arrival of the South African businessman on Twitter.

“Users should maybe not worry about their data being leaked to Musk, but about their data being leaked to everyone. Twitter’s record on security is no longer great, and Musk could be laying off employees who are essential to keeping the protections he has in place and actually working.”Morrison writes.

In the same line Busaniche expresses: “The issue of personal data is a serious problem because the United States does not have legislation at the federal level that regulates the protection of personal data as it does, for example, the European Union, with the General Regulation for Data Protection, which enshrines certain rights for European citizens”, he details.

“It will be necessary to see if indeed, as it has been outlined, Musk is after the personal data to use them in his other ventures, it is not a remote or far-fetched possibility.. It is very plausible because at the end of the day these subjects who seem picturesque and flashy, who make themselves loved and hated indistinctly, are businessmen who seek profit, and personal data is a central element in the knowledge economy and in the platform economy. ”, he adds.

However, in the same Vox article, Morrison maintains that for now there are numerous protocols that would prevent the unrestricted use of personal information. But the most compelling reason that the journalist exposes to dismiss an irregular use of data is, once again, Musk’s need to build Twitter as a reliable platform so that money from advertisers – who mostly finance the social network, at least until today – don’t fade away. It should be noted that in recent days the new owner of the social network announced that, through a subscription model, it intends to stop depending of advertising financing. Open end.

The social network for everything

Days ago, the businessman tweeted that his intention is to transform Twitter into a everything app, a project that has its most finished version in China, with WeChat. There you can exchange messages, calls and make payments.

It could be said that the owner of Meta, mark zuckerberg, goes in the same direction. The 38-year-old North American programmer -who this week announced the dismissal of 11 thousand employees, the largest cut in the history of the company – also intends to colonize the largest number of activities of daily life and transfer them to the idyll of virtual reality. In the metaverse there are already recitals and real estateamong other experiences offered by the emporium created by the Harvard graduate.

On the other hand, In his first steps as an entrepreneur, Musk had already invested in a project from the fintech universe, and recently tweeted about his possible return. One of the first companies created by the founder of Tesla in the early 2000s was Paypal, a well-known company that allows transfers to be made without the intermediation of official entities. A Mercadopago business that, in the United States, is in dispute with the banks.

For the specialized magazine fortunethis is the main motivation of the richest man in the world: “If you want more evidence that Musk bought Twitter as a fintech gambit, just look at who he brought in to help him: Binance founder Changpeng Zhao; David Sacks, another PayPal founder who is also involved in crypto and also Sriram Krishnan, an investor in a16z Crypto and who has an Ethereum address in his Twitter bio.”

The political move

consulted by the political motivations of the South African tycoon, Busaniche concludes: “What I have clear is that Musk wants to use Twitter to position himself in the public discourse debate and to reposition a position – which comes with a lot of power, many media outlets share it, for example Fox – in the debate on freedom of expression, the extreme right and progressive politics, in which it clearly has an interest”.

We’ll see what happens with the account. donald trumpwho had said he was going to come back, but he still hasn’t,” says the author of Intellectual property and human rights (2016).

Lastly, in her newsletter “Burofax”, from the Cenital outlet, Jimena Valdéz writes: “In the opposite direction to growth more linked to minorities and revolts (the use of the social network was key, for example, in the Arab Spring), today Twitter is a place where the powerful speak. That the owner is the man with the most money on the planet does not seem like a step in the direction of more democracy”.

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Politics, personal data and fintech: what is Elon Musk looking for with his arrival on Twitter | The reasons behind the multi-million dollar purchase