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Elon Musk just bought Twitter: Why is this dangerous?

Graphic by Kyle St. John

If you use Twitter or any other form of social media, odds are that you have seen an influx of memes about Elon Musk purchasing the blue-bird app. While most of these memes are in jest, the danger is very real.

What happens when the richest man alive controls the third-biggest U.S. platform where media is disseminated?

At first, probably nothing. Musk’s casual new marketing campaign is centered around welcoming free speech (which welcomes its own user safety problems, but I digress). For a while, we will probably only see cosmetic changes to some of the app’s features.

Unfortunately, the sinister implications will likely become evident once the damage is done.

Musk has said that he welcomes his fans and critics alike to join or stay on the app, but hate mail censorship is not what I am concerned about.

Twitter has long been a platform for the masses where people can go to protest injustice, be that police brutality, unjust elections, a lack of policies addressing climate change or missing persons cases that have been unheard of or brushed under the rug.

If Musk feels threatened or opposes any of these aforementioned movements and events, who is to stop him from shadowbanning accounts proliferating protest media or hiding tweets that raise awareness for social injustice?

Musk is also no stranger to controversy. He has frequently come under fire in recent years with Tesla being accused of using cobalt mined through child slave labor. When the next controversy breaks out, do you think he will sit by idly while his reputation and stocks tank because people have taken to Twitter to voice their opposition?

Twitter also promotes the top 10 trending news stories at all times to users. What’s to stop him from hiding a story or event that challenges his personal views? And if he did it, how would we even confirm beyond hearsay?

While many news sources have been corrupted by big businesses and their personal agendas, social media, though not perfect, has been a safe haven. It has welcomed the stories hidden by mainstream news outlets, and it has been largely controlled by the people.

When billionaires own all the social media platforms and have the major news outlets in their pockets, who, or where, will we turn to when our personal rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are threatened by the technocracy?

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