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Elon Musk, the Ford of the digital age and freedom of expression on Twitter

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Elon Musk has returned to star in the information this week. He surely collects “weeks of protagonism”, just as he collects companies, economic adventures, sophisticated machines, including space rockets, or children and, above all, money. But above all, Musk is a collector of events of his own making. There are collectors-tourists of events who plan their vacation days based on the events of recent decades: Berlin with the fall of the wall, Dallas with the assassination of Kennedy or, going further in time and closer in space, Linares of the capture of Manolete by Islero, which is also an event.

Elon Musk and the freedom of expression of Twitter

 

Others, like the protagonist of  Nick Hornby’s Juliet, Naked, plan their tourist trips by collecting the events of their idol. There are many ways and many levels to collect events. Musk has chosen the   supreme premium category, that of heroes. Like a modern Ulysses, he stars in the events that intend to become not only historical events, but also myths. 

 

Last year it was the decision to make it possible to buy your Tesla with bitcoins. A week ago, the acquisition of a significant proportion of Twitter shares, which made it the reference shareholder. A couple of days ago, launching an offer to become the absolute owner of this social network. An offer of 43 billion dollars. An event that is no joke. In fact, the main shareholders of Twitter have not taken it well at all.

The economic reasons for Musk’s offer are unclear. It is not about the most profitable businesses on the internet. However, there are more capitals than the economic and patrimonial ones at stake. Above all, there is the symbolic capital.

It seems that Musk wants Twitter to access mythology as the hero of free speech. Days before, precisely on the social network, he asked if Twitter guaranteed freedom of expression and how this guarantee could be extended. The paradox is that the control of such freedom of expression would be more concentrated.

Poisonous pill to neutralize Musk

 

Twitter’s board of directors does not seem happy with the offer. Because of the offer, in itself, and because of the price, since they believe that the company has a higher value. Moreover, it has been dropped that the rest of the majority shareholders of Twitter could make use of the resource poison pill (poisonous pill). 

In fact, with this operation we have learned the content of this concept, consisting of a defensive strategy on the part of the companies, when someone carries out an action aimed at gaining control of it. Basically it consists of making the operation more expensive -in money or time- for those who want to carry it out. The types of poisonous pills that exist are different, without being clear about which one, in his case, would be executed.

 

Beyond the final success of Musk’s maneuver, it leads him to the characterization of a different model of entrepreneur. Perhaps, the entrepreneur of the digital society.

 

For better or worse, by mass-producing automobiles for a mass of consumers, Ford created a way of life that is now a century old. For good, because the living conditions reached by millions of people on this cornerstone of mass consumption were unthinkable before. Conditions such as access to consumption, a certain economic stability, health or retirement pensions.

To make all this possible, Ford enlisted the collaboration of a state with Keynesian leanings. For worse, especially among opponents of capitalism, as this has led to the intensification of the economy based on fossil fuels or carbon economy, with its environmental consequences.

 

People circulate like messages

 

Ford laid fundamental foundations for the civilization of the circulation of people and goods. Wealthy and mobile societies were achieved. But we are in another moment. Moreover, it can be said that Fordism has been showing signs of exhaustion for years. Now, people circulate mainly as messages. In meetings, in tweets. With Web3, the objective is that a good part of the goods themselves also circulate exclusively as messages. 

It is the context of the circulation of messages. And, above all, the circulation of messages in the community, from the community. It is the representation that Musk made asking his followers about Twitter. Asking the community about him. The community of an entrepreneur is not in his employees, no matter how many they are and how happy they are.

Nor among his clients, no matter how many they are and how satisfied they are. His community can be made up of employees and customers; but it goes further. It is a community in action. And this is what Musk has managed to show. For better or worse. 

 

 He will sell his shares if his offer is not accepted.

 

It has gotten attention. An attention that, in addition, would be relatively cheap if it does not achieve its manifest objective, the acquisition of the Twitter company. Spending just a few bucks, Elon Musk would have garnered attention—a new notch in his collection of happenings—and also called into question Twitter’s own guarantee of free speech.: If they don’t want me to guarantee freedom of expression, it’s because they have to hide something.

In fact, he has already threatened that, if his offer is not accepted, he would sell that almost 10% of shares bought a few days ago. As can be seen, the event is crossed by multiple paradoxes. To the point that it is not known on which side freedom of expression will remain in the social network, which, in any case, appears as the most affected actor in the matter.

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