Elon Musk’s impending takeover of Twitter has drawn a lot of criticism, particularly from his fellow billionaires. But while Jack Dorsey is excited, Jeff Bezos has some reservations.
On Monday, the former Amazon CEO wondered whether the Chinese government will try to influence Twitter through Musk, as one of his other companies, Tesla, has a large presence in China. The country is not only Tesla’s second-largest market, but also a major supplier of materials and components for electric car batteries, as a New York Times news reporter pointed on twitter.
In response to the reporter’s tweet, Bezos couldn’t help but tweet: “Interesting question. Has the Chinese government just gained some influence over the town square?”
Bezos later responded to his comments by tweet out: “My own answer to this question is probably not. The most likely outcome in this regard is complexity in China for Tesla rather than Twitter censorship.
“But let’s see. Musk is extremely good at dealing with that kind of complexity,” she added.
It’s no secret that Bezos and Musk have a rocky relationship. Over the years, the two have feuded over their competing space projects, with Musk lashing out at Bezos on Twitter.
However, many experts and journalists covering China are also questioning whether 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 wants to sell more cars there, as many observers in China note.” I wrote journalist Melissa Chan, who was expelled from the country. “What happens if Beijing leans on him over, say, a Uighur or Hong Kong activist account? Or about Chinese disinformation bots taking advantage of this platform?”
For now, Musk has only said he is committed to making Twitter an arena for free speech, which will include reducing attempts to censor content. But according to Chan, that’s 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 get angry if Beijing starts leaning on him over Twitter, he’ll find out how efficiently the Chinese state can swallow that Tesla factory in Shanghai. ,” wrote Chan. .
Interestingly, China itself isn’t exactly denying that it won’t try to influence Twitter. On Tuesday, a journalist asked the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs whether the government would try to exert its influence over Musk to influence content on Twitter, including lifting a ban on state-sponsored media advertisements.
“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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