Elon Musk’s impending takeover of Twitter has prompted a number of hot snaps, particularly from his fellow billionaires. But while Jack Dorsey is enthusiastic, Jeff Bezos has some reservations.
On Monday, the former Amazon CEO questioned whether the Chinese government would try to influence Twitter through Musk since one of his other companies, Tesla, has a major presence in China. The country is not only Tesla’s second-largest market, but also a key supplier of materials and components for electric car batteries, as New York Times journalist underline on Twitter.
In response to the reporter’s tweet, Bezos couldn’t help but Tweeter“Interesting question. Did the Chinese government just gain some influence in the town square?”
Bezos then recalled his comments by Tweeter out: “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 type of complexity,” he added.
It’s no secret that Bezos and Musk have a rocky relationship. Over the years, the two have argued over their competing space projects, with Musk taking jabs at Bezos on Twitter.
However, many pundits and journalists who cover China also wonder if Musk’s takeover of Twitter gives the country an opening to influence the social media platform.
“Elon Musk has a Tesla factory in China and he wants to sell more cars there, as many Chinese observers note,” wrote journalist Melissa Chan, who was expelled from the country. “What if Beijing leans on him over, say, a Uyghur or Hong Kong activist account? Or about the Chinese disinformation bots that operate this platform? »
For now, Musk has only said he is committed to making Twitter an arena for free speech, which would include reducing attempts to censor content. But according to Chan, that is the problem.
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“If Elon Musk thinks that because he’s the richest man in the world he can tell China to fuck off if Beijing ever starts leaning on him over Twitter, he’ll find out with what efficiency the Chinese state can gobble up this Shanghai Tesla factory,” Chan wrote. .
Interestingly, China itself doesn’t exactly deny that it won’t try to influence Twitter. On Tuesday, a reporter asked the country’s foreign ministry if the government would try to use its influence on Musk to influence content on Twitter, including lifting a ban on state-sponsored media ads.
“I can say that you are very good at speculating, but without any basis,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said in response.
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