— New York Post (@nypost) April 26, 2022
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Elon Musk is buying Twitter, and folks on social media are losing it.
And I somehow get it. People are worried about the fact that a billionaire is about to own the biggest social media network besides Facebook.
Speaking about Facebook: do you know who owns a lot of Facebook stocks besides Mark Zuckerberg? Did you know that Blackrock and the Vanguard Group hold around 15 percent of Meta?
Fun fact: Blackrock, Vanguard, and Morgan Stanley own more than 20 percent of Twitter at the moment.
And here’s what the dude who started Twitter, Jack Dorsey, said about Musk’s plans to buy Twitter:
Elon’s goal of creating a platform that is “maximally trusted and broadly inclusive” is the right one. This is also @paraga’s goal, and why I chose him. Thank you both for getting the company out of an impossible situation. This is the right path…I believe it with all my heart.
— jack⚡️ (@jack) April 26, 2022
A lot to unpack here—and I am going to try exactly that.
As mentioned, I understand the criticism and worries. I am with Dorsey that nobody should own social media. I also think that healthcare shouldn’t be privatized, and the same goes for electricity and water—maybe that’s why readers often call me a communist?
I personally believe that infrastructure should be accessible to everyone. I think that everyone should get free access to the internet. Lithuania and Estonia are aiming to reach that goal soon. What is the rest of the world waiting for?
In a perfect world, social media would be a place that everyone can access. But we are far away from that.
One of the main reasons why social media turned into a dumpster fire with people fighting each other is because it’s all about business. The more traffic, the more money is made.
That’s why social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok want us to argue with strangers on the internet for hours. Besides that, these big-tech companies created algorithms designed to get us hooked on watching mindless content all day long.
Speaking about algorithms: do you know how they work? Me neither.
It’s because these algorithms are the best-kept secret of Big Tech.
What would happen if someone had enough money to ruin the party for advertisement companies and those who design the almighty algorithms?
Apparently, it leads to everyone losing their mind. And again, I get the skepticism, but let’s overcome our fear for a second and try to look at the bright side of this.
Elon Musk said that he wants to buy Twitter. He also said that he wants to take it off the stock markets. He also said that he wants to end the secret around algorithms by turning them into open-source code. And, not to forget, he said that he wants to get rid of spambots and verify every user.
Of course, all of these steps could lead to something bad. Imagine Musk decides to charge us for using Twitter. We might not be able to anonymously argue with strangers. And there is a good chance that folks like Donald Trump will return to the platform.
But what if Twitter changes in a different way? Dorsey often talked about how advertisements on social media caused them to be clickbaity and dominated by influencers trying to sell questionable stuff and coaching packages.
Dorsey’s and Musk’s vision for Twitter’s future is different. They want content creators to get paid for their content and not depend on advertisement money. Their vision includes cryptocurrencies and making payments available all around the world.
That doesn’t sound that bad, to be honest.
We all know that companies like Meta and Twitter make a lot of money. But did you ever ask yourself where that money comes from? It’s our time and attention that gets sold to advertisers. We are literally the product on social media, which is also the reason why it’s “for free.”
Now imagine that the money made with our attention, time, and data would be used to pay content creators directly?
Imagine content creators wouldn’t need to use their reach to sell products with affiliate links and instead focus on creating high-quality content that people actually enjoy.
You can call me naive because I believe in these opportunities. Maybe I am wrong. But please tell me why Blackrock, Vanguard, and Morgan Stanley are less questionable than Musk?
When I look at Big Tech billionaires, I see different approaches. There are folks like Jack Dorsey and Elon Musk who are often portrayed as punks with too much money—and there are people like Mark Zuckerberg and Jeff Bezos.
Bezos and Zuckerberg are two billionaires I don’t agree with. I feel that both of them are simply trying to build an empire and destroy everyone competing with them. Facebook and Amazon have a long history of pushing rivals out of business (or buying them).
On the other side, we have Dorsey and Musk, who are like little boys trying to invent new things that change our lives. It’s a completely different approach. Musk provided internet to the people in Ukraine using technology developed by his company SpaceX. And let’s not forget about Tesla building all these electric cars.
Dorsey left Twitter to become the CEO of Square. He wants to make cryptocurrencies and payments accessible for everyone. He describes himself as an anarchist who doesn’t believe in big government and institutions.
And, of course, Musk and Dorsey are not perfect.
Tesla needs to protect workers’ rights better. Twitter will need to make sure that nobody is able to spread misinformation or organize a riot on Capitol Hill. No doubt about that.
We don’t know what’s going to happen on Twitter in the near future. But if they decide to ditch the algorithms designed for the needs of advertisers and replace them with different ones that favor free speech, I am cool with that.
Even if that means that Trump returns to Twitter.
I said it before and will say it again, “Our goal shouldn’t be to silence anyone; our goal should be a society where an idiot can’t convince millions of people to do something stupid.”
If Musk is serious about making Twitter a public platform that doesn’t have to worry about stock prices and dividends, I welcome that. If Musk really shares the algorithms with the public, it could change the internet forever. If content creators start making more money than teenagers advertising makeup, I can tolerate Trump and his ridiculous tweets.
And if I had billions of dollars, I would buy every social media company on this planet and take them off stock exchanges. That way, they could focus on their mission and forget about capitalism.
But I don’t have billions of dollars.
I feel that social media has had an extremely negative impact on society for years. This is mainly because of the shift from showing posts in chronological order to letting algorithms decide what we get to see. If someone wants to reverse that, I couldn’t agree more.
Not because I think that a billionaire should have the power to control social media—it’s more that I don’t trust the billionaires who owned it before Musk.
Maybe I am wrong. Maybe I am missing something? Please let me know in the comments.
And if you feel inspired to write a mindful article on this topic, here’s your link.