Elon Musk’s backers for his Twitter buyout point to a conflicted future for the social media site.
The billionaire Tesla CEO’s rise to potential Twitter boss already had a strange history – from being the company’s largest shareholder with a seat on the board, to being rejected for that position, to being offered an outright takeover that was unexpectedly accepted.
But among Mr Musk’s supporters of the $44 billion bid are organizations that he and his supporters have criticized in the past.
On April 27, Mr Musk tweeted a meme criticizing Twitter’s anti-hate speech policy and its legal director, Vijaya Gadde, after she and then-Twitter chief Jack Dorsey appeared on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast alongside right-wing commentator Tim Pool appeared for a three-hour interview.
Mr Rogan and Mr Pool criticized Ms Gadde for claiming Twitter had censored right-wing speech, including banning an infamous right-wing YouTuber for using a “Jewish slur” and tweeting the hashtag “Hitler was right” to another user. Mr Pool said it “sounds like he’s joking”.
Ms Gadde quoted another tweet: “That’s how I know I’m going to throw you out of a helicopter one day. They are the same kind of malignant cancer. Do not forget it”.
Mr Musk’s criticism of Ms Gadde comes despite a section of the Twitter deal saying Mr Musk could not insult the company’s ‘representatives’ – Twitter declined to comment when asked by LatestPageNews who his company’ represented” – and the fact that these guidelines were led by Mr. Dorsey, who could support Mr. Musk’s funding.
Mr Musk is reportedly speaking with Mr Dorsey about the possibility of contributing shares immediately or before the merger is complete. Ms Gadde has received numerous abuses on Twitter following Mr Musk’s meme, while Jack Dorsey has not.
Neither Mr Musk, Mr Dorsey nor Ms Gadde have responded to LatestPageNews’s requests for comment.
Other supporters of Elon Musk’s bid include venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz (A16Z), which has been vocal about Web3 technology like digital ownership of goods on the blockchain.
Web3 is an umbrella term for decentralized technologies such as NFTs and cryptocurrencies that claim to restore agency to users, in contrast to Web2’s top-down control defined by major social networks such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Changpeng Zhao, the billionaire founder of Binance and another of Mr Musk’s supporters, said he was “excited to be able to help Elon realize a new vision for Twitter.”
The Web3 advocate, who wants to integrate digital tokens like NFTs and blockchain technologies into other applications, told CNBC he hopes to “play a role in bringing social media and Web3 together and the use and adoption of crypto and blockchain.” -Expand technology. ”
However, web3 and venture capitalists have been criticized by Elon Musk and Jack Dorsey. In December last year, Mr Musk tweeted: “Has anyone seen web3? I can’t find it’, with Mr Dorsey reply that it is “somewhere between a and z”.
Mr Dorsey also took to Twitter to criticize the ideology of Web3 advocates who claim the technology will return some control of the internet from big tech companies to users.
“You don’t own ‘web3’. The VCs and their LPs do. It will never escape their incentives. It is ultimately a centralized entity with a different label. Know what you’re getting into,” Mr Dorsey tweeted.
Mr Musk, who has claimed he is a “free speech absolutist”, also receives financial backing from Qatar and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – although the Saudi prince initially dismissed Mr Musk’s offer as out of control.
Both Qatar and Saudi Arabia have been criticized for their crackdown on freedom of expression. In Qatar, a cyber law passed in 2014 gave government and authorities the power to punish “content that could harm the country” with prison sentences of up to three years and large fines. There are no guidelines or references stating what type of content is allowed or disallowed.
In 2020, the country enacted a law threatening “to jail anyone who broadcasts, publishes or republishes false or biased rumours, statements or news, or inflammatory propaganda, domestically or internationally, with intent to harm national interests or.” incite public opinion or offend against the social order or the public order of the state.”
Saudi Arabia has also been criticized for censorship and human rights abuses, as in 2018 when the CIA concluded the Saudi Crown Prince was responsible Washington Post the killing of reporter Jamal Khashoggi, contradicting the country’s claims that it was not involved.