Elon Musk’s Purchase of Twitter: What Does It Mean for Ukraine and Russia?
Elon Musk, the influential businessman and founder of Tesla, recently purchased Twitter for a whopping $44 billion. While the social network may have fewer users than Facebook or Instagram, it is more respected by the powerful and has the most politically active audience. This deal took place against the backdrop of the actively developing military conflict in Ukraine, leading many to question whether Musk will use Twitter to wage an information war with Russia.
In this article, we will discuss the latest news around Ukraine and Russia, Elon Musk’s help to Ukraine, and analyze what is happening now.
Elon Musk’s Purchase of Twitter
In late April 2022, it was reported that Elon Musk had made a final agreement to acquire Twitter for $44 billion. When the deal is closed, Twitter will become a private company. Social network shareholders will receive $54.20 for each ordinary share. The premium was 38 to the stock price at the close of trading on April 1 when Musk announced a 9- acquisition on Twitter.
While Twitter may be unprofitable, it is the most influential social network, which is used by presidents and businessmen. His tweets have repeatedly changed the situation in the markets and the fate of corporations. The question arises as to what purpose did Musk buy this media platform for? Obviously, this is not a way to make money. Musk says that he doesn’t care about the economics of buying Twitter. He is an active social network user on Twitter; he has more than 80 million followers.
Musk has previously voiced the idea of owning a social network utopian ideal from the point of view of ensuring the rights and freedoms of users in contrast to other popular social media outlets that he most regularly criticizes. In March 2022, Musk wrote in a comment to his Twitter followers that he was seriously thinking about creating an uncensored social network. Twitter, he said, has great potential for this purpose and should develop into a platform that enjoys the trust of society all over the world and gives everyone the freedom to express their position.
Freedom of speech is the foundation of democracy, and Twitter is a digital urban area where issues vital to the future of humanity are discussed. The entrepreneur explains the solution, however, many experts tend to believe that the realization of absolute freedom of speech is impossible, and the billionaire will still have a direct influence on how the social network will work. This judgment is not unfounded given how much power over the minds of ordinary people Elon now has in his hands.
Will Musk Use Twitter’s Influence against Russia?
Now everyone knows that Musk has long been in conflict with some representatives of the US democratic party, but it is unlikely that this is what the test the company had is concerned with at the moment. Most likely, his first priority will be to focus on Russia, whose invasion of Ukraine has been recently condemned by the billionaire.
It is unlikely that he will ban pro-Kremlin accounts because Twitter is banned in Russia. It is also worth remembering that Musk is a fairly consistent person and respects the principles of free speech, even when this could harm his image. In early March 2022, the founder of SpaceX and Tesla refused to block Russian media at the request of some government. He reported this on his Twitter account. “Some governments (non-Ukrainian) have told Starlink to block Russian news sources. We will do it only at gunpoint,” said the entrepreneur. He also stressed that he is committed to absolute freedom of speech.
But how can Musk use Twitter’s influence against Russia? We believe he doesn’t need to block anyone; on the contrary, he will likely make the social network more accessible and free for all, which will help him win the information war against the Kremlin.
Decentralization: The Future of Twitter?
To understand why this particular decision paradoxically will be more effective than mass blocking of Moscow Twitter accounts, we need to remember something about Russia. Namely, Twitter is already blocked on the territory of Russian Federation because its audience in Russia consists of opposition-minded young people who, through posts on the social network, expressed their protest against the state policy of Moscow as well as share information unfavorable to the authorities.
If Russians have easier access to this social network, it will undermine the effectiveness of Russian propaganda. But how does Musk plan to make his social network more accessible? The answer is simple: decentralization. The Russian authorities easily broke access to this social network because it is enough to cut off the citizens of the country from communication with a small number of large servers where Twitter is located.
But Elon did not buy this social network for nothing because its creators have long been working on the protocol Bluesky. Despite Musk’s comments about Twitter’s financial success, earnings do not serve as a priority goal. The billionaire considers the social network as an asset which will allow him to start a crusade for the freedom of speech, to get rid of censorship and control from specialized regulators around the world.
Experts note that the purchase of Twitter can be not random. The social network since 2019 is working on the Bluesky protocol; it allows you to create a decentralized cross-platform content moderation system. Bluesky appeared in 2019; the project started with a tweet by Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s CEO. Twitter sponsors a small independent team of five people who will develop a decentralized standard for social networks. Twitter was supposed to be a gateway to this protocol.
Bluesky is an open-source software library. It is expected that social networks will be able to transfer some of their infrastructure to Bluesky. In this way, they will have access to ready-made features, for example, an algorithmic news feed, and will be able to save their own content moderation. Despite the dependence on one protocol, applications built on it will be able to decide for themselves which content to access and to which users to block.
Today, Bluesky is still in the planning stage. In March, the same company announced the recruitment of three permanent employees. These included former Twitter and Google cybersecurity specialist Aaron Goldman, startups Daniel Holmgren and Paul Fraser. She is the head of CEO Jay Grubber, who used to develop decentralized systems and study cryptocurrencies. The project also has a board of directors; Dorsey is the only member so far. Reuters was able to find out that if he was successfully appointed Twitter’s Board of directors, Musk would join him with his Bluesky company. The task of the latter would be to determine the strategy and direction of the development of Bluesky.