Jeff Bezos Suggests Elon Musk’s Twitter Takeover Could Give China Leverage

Jeff Bezos holds the aviation goggles that belonged to Amelia Earhart as he speaks during a press conference about his flight on Blue Origin’s New Shepard into space July 20, 2021 in Van Horn, Texas.

Joe Raedle | Getty Images

Billionaire Amazon co-founder Jeff Bezos has weighed in on Elon Musk’s deal to buy Twitter for $44 billion.

Bezos shared a tweet on Monday evening suggesting that China could gain influence on Twitter once the acquisition is complete.

“Has the Chinese government just gained some influence in the city square? Bezos wrote, alluding to Musk’s business ties to China. Tesla’s CEO established a factory in Shanghai in 2018 and the company relies heavily on Chinese companies to supply the materials that go into its batteries.

Twitter’s board of directors on Monday accepted Musk’s acquisition of the company. Twitter will be taken private at $54.20 per share in a deal valuing the company at around $44 billion.

Twitter is banned in China. Beijing’s so-called “Great Firewall” prohibits access to a number of Western social media sites, including Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

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

“But we’ll see. Musk is extremely good at navigating that kind of complexity,” he added.

Despite the caveat, Bezos’ comments are the latest in a long-running feud between the two billionaires.

The two men have often argued over their respective space ambitions over the years. Musk is CEO of SpaceX, while Bezos runs his own space company, Blue Origin.

While Musk has promised to improve Twitter’s role as a “digital town square” where users can speak and debate freely, the takeover has raised concern from some politicians and activists who fear it will don’t give the world’s richest man too much control over online speech.

Billionaires owning media companies are not a new phenomenon, however. Bezos himself owns The Washington Post, while Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff bought Time Magazine in 2018. But Twitter is unique in that it’s a platform where millions of people interact and share content – ​​and as such it is closely watched by regulators.