By The Financial District
Big Tech Firms, Musk Are Real Threats To Free Speech
It's official: Elon Musk could soon become the king of Twitter. After agreeing to purchase his new crown for some $44 billion, Musk has promised big changes. In truth, no one really knows what Musk will do with Twitter if his bid succeeds.
Photo Insert: To fix social media and safeguard freedom of expression for the future, we need lawmakers to act. Not billionaires.
He could make it better. He could make it worse. The ease in which the richest man in the world can purchase a platform used by hundreds of millions of people should be a wake-up call, Evan Greer argued in an analysis carried by CNN Business.
“Musk is right that free speech is in danger -- but it's not, as he claims, because of content moderation. It's because of corporate monopolies. A tiny handful of corporations, controlled by an even smaller group of wealthy and powerful elites, have a stranglehold over the tools and platforms that the world depends on to communicate and spread their message,” Greer maintained.
Many who disagree with Musk's stated vision for Twitter say they will leave the platform. But where will they go? To a different Big Tech kingdom where our posts reach our friends, family, and followers at the pleasure of Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook or Google's Sundar Pichai, whose company owns YouTube?
Ideally, people could flock to decentralized, open-source alternatives like Mastodon and Matrix. But Silicon Valley giants have gone out of their way to make it difficult to switch platforms.
To fix social media and safeguard freedom of expression for the future, we need lawmakers to act. Not billionaires. True online free speech -- where we have a real choice in both what to say and where to say it -- will never be possible unless the regulatory ground shifts to allow alternative platforms to achieve network effect.
That's why the best response to Musk's takeover of Twitter is for lawmakers to pass the American Innovation and Choice Online Act (AICOA, S. 2992) and the Open App Markets Act (OAMA, S. 2710), two antitrust bills that will rein in tech monopolies and put us on a path toward a world where people can have real options when it comes to social media.
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