Will China gain influence on Twitter with Elon Musk’s takeover?

Twitter has become a vital source of information for everyone, including media professionals and the comman man. It’s as if everything written on Twitter is now more legitimate than any legal document.

But, the richest man in the world, Elon Musk, has taken over Twitter. Musk is loved by many with an almost cult following, but also hated and questioned by some in equal measure. He’s also a self-proclaimed free speech absolutist and that’s one of the main reasons he sued the Bird app.

Photo: Getty Images

Yet not everyone believes in this Twitter utopia when there are so many unanswered questions. A question of global importance is: will China have more weight on Twitter after Musk’s takeover?

Billionaire and business rival of Musk, Jeff Bezos asked the same question.

ELON MUSK’S TWITTER BUYOUT AND HIS CONNECTION WITH CHINA

The relationship between China and Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter may sound like a wild conspiracy theory. But when we break it down, it doesn’t seem too wild – which is bad news.

Follow these points to find out why:

  • Elon Musk secured a $12.5 billion loan against his Tesla stake to fund the Twitter takeover.
  • According to a Bloomberg report, Tesla contributes more than 67% of Elon Musk’s net worth.
  • Elon Musk may have a flippant attitude toward the US government, but he can’t have the same attitude toward the Chinese government. For example, when the US imposed the Covid lockdown, Musk was quick to criticize the policy. While in China, with the recent severe lockdown, he didn’t say a word – even going so far as to demand workers at the Shanghai factory eat and sleep at the factory itself.
  • China is notorious for using commercial interests for its political purposes. For example, all data collected by overseas Chinese companies may be shared with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) upon request.

HOW CHINA CAN USE TWITTER AFTER MUSK TAKEOVER

Twitter is banned in China. We don’t know if Musk will bring Twitter to the Chinese people again. But currently, the CPC is very adept at using Twitter for its own purposes in the rest of the world.

The only reason China’s state media, diplomats and politicians are active on Twitter, while the rest of the country is not, is to spread propaganda. Research has time and again shown how Chinese bots on Twitter are behind several disinformation campaigns.

Does it matter for India? In early 2022, Chinese state media shared a video showing PLA soldiers unfurling a Chinese flag in the Galwan Valley with a caption insinuating that China has not moved away from the site of the 2020 clashes. with India.

However, it was later debunked that the video was shot well within Chinese territory and was not even close to the site of the Galwan Valley clashes in 2020.

China has also been accused of peddling fake news about Covid-19, causing panic among people and more. Imagine what increased Chinese influence on Twitter can mean for disinformation against India. There are already several fake Twitter accounts for this purpose.

Yes, Elon Musk wants to beat the bots or die trying. But China could get a free pass if it hangs Tesla like a sword to Musk’s head. On top of that, they could also go behind more domestic issues like the accounts of Uyghur genocide critics, Hong Kong activists, and even international issues like Taiwan.

Musk’s Tesla showroom in Xinjiang is proof enough that he wouldn’t hesitate to bend over backwards for the CPC.

‘BY FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION, I JUST MEAN…’

Musk, who waved the free speech flag on April 26, 2022, when news of his takeover broke, went on to elaborate on what he meant by free speech.

“By ‘Freedom of Speech,’ I just mean what’s within the law,” his tweet read; the rest is gibberish at best.

So Musk would certainly have no problem conforming to autocratic government rules.

On a note of dark humour, have you ever met Musk’s Chinese lookalike? Superstition says lookalikes mean a bad omen. Is that it then?