Jeff Bezos launches theory that China has ‘leverage’ on Twitter after Elon Musk takeover

After Twitter announced on Monday that it had accepted Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s $44 billion deal to buy the company, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos publicly questioned whether China would gain “leverage” on the social media platform.

Twitter’s board of directors unanimously agreed to accept Musk’s offer to take the company private.

“Twitter’s Board of Directors conducted a thoughtful and comprehensive process to assess Elon’s proposal with a deliberate focus on value, certainty and funding. The proposed transaction will offer a substantial cash bonus, and we believe it’s the best way forward for Twitter shareholders. Bret Taylor, chairman of the board, said Monday.

Bezos, the second richest man in the world behind Musk, responded to the ad with a Tweeter on Monday evening, raising concerns about the implications of the decision on China’s potential influence on Twitter.

He then followed up with subsequent tweets offering his own take on the question he posed a few hours later:

“My own answer to that question is probably no. The more likely outcome in this regard is complexity in China for Tesla, rather than censorship on Twitter.

“But we will see. Musk is extremely good at navigating this kind of complexity.

Musk’s business interests in China have already raised concerns among Washington lawmakers who believe Beijing may be accessing classified information through SpaceX’s foreign suppliers.

In January, Tesla faced a backlash for opening a showroom in Xinjiang, a region where the government has been accused of committing human rights abuses against Uyghurs and other minority populations. Many have accused Musk of profiting at their expense, including Scott Paul, the chairman of the Alliance of American Manufacturing, who has described Tesla as “despicable” and “accomplice” in “cultural genocide.”

Wang Wenbin, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson speculations dismissed on Tuesday, when a reporter asked him at a press conference if China would try to use Tesla’s activities in the country as leverage to influence content and censorship on Twitter.

“I can tell that you are very good at speculating, but without any basis,” Wenbin replied.

Musk, who describes himself as a “free speech absolutist”, expressed his opposition to Twitter’s moderation of content. By taking over Twitter, Musk expressed hope to open up more space for free expression on Twitter.

“Free speech is the foundation of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital public square where issues vital to the future of humanity are debated,” Musk said in a statement. “I also want to make Twitter better than ever by improving the product with new features, making algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating spambots and authenticating all humans. Twitter has huge potential – I can’t wait to work with the company and the user community to unlock it.”

Image selected via efile / Insider to personal finance

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