So reactions to Elon Musk's recent bid to purchase and privatize Twitter have been both explosive and varied, to say the least. The billionaire's proposed plan to take hold of the social media site, “for free speech,” have sparked controversy, rage, confusion, and… a grassroots effort to put him on the Presidential ticket for 2024?
Since the announcement yesterday that the Twitter Board of Directors had unanimously approved Musk's $44-billion takeover of Twitter, both the Internet and the platform itself have seen search trends skyrocket. Some calling it a weed-fueled practical joke gone awry, and Joe Rogan, no stranger to controversy, declaring “…It’s like a movie. Like if you had a movie, and there’s a guy who’s like a hero in the movie who happened to be a billionaire and does wild s**t.”
Searchers Gone Wild
Searches with the Delete Twitter hashtag leaped nine times higher than usual, but that pales in comparison to another search – “Elon Musk president”
According to data researched by JohnSlots.com, searches indicating support for Musk in a presidential run exploded to 11 times the search volume, or a crazy to imagine 1,160% in the hours following news of the sale.
Adrian Covrig, senior software developer and data analyst at Oxfordshire based digital agency Search Intelligence Ltd. commented on the findings:
“As Twitter is a tool that can shape democracy and manipulate public opinion, people are rightful to think that he could potentially “tweak the algorithm” to manipulate the public’s opinion, should he ever be running for president.
“Although such an action can be technically possible if Mr Musk becomes the sole owner of Twitter and if he will have full control over the company, he will most likely not resort to such unethical practices, as his reputation would forever be damaged.”
Social Media Struggles
Musk is no stranger to controversy and definitely controversy on Twitter. At the moment, he's embroiled in a lawsuit by former Twitter stockholders who claim he drove up the price after he bought, by announcing his 9.2% stake in the company earlier this month. Add that to former lawsuits and outrage from 2018, 2019, 2020… There's a reason Musk has to run certain tweets past his lawyers now.
Meanwhile, other billionaires are jumping into the fray. Amazon owner Jeff Bezos tweeted out, “Interesting. Did the Chinese government just gain a bit of leverage over the town square?” in response to the news about Twitter's pending sale.
The call out continues the friendly feud between the two corporate giants that's been going on for more than 15 years now.
Bezos quickly replied to his own tweet, stating, “My own answer to this question is probably not. The more likely outcome in this regard is complexity in China for Tesla, rather than censorship at Twitter. But we’ll see. Musk is extremely good at navigating this kind of complexity.”
President Joe Biden didn't respond to Musk's news – or the search results – either through social media or official White House channels, even when asked for comment. The White House Press staff reiterated that the President has long been concerned about the power of social media platforms. Some took that to mean he's worried about certain banned individuals being allowed back on Twitter.
Biz Stone, one of the co-founders of Twitter posted a variation on a popular meme that appeared neutral – how it started, with photo of Twitter's original leadership, set aside a photo of Elon Musk – how it's going.
In all truth, it's unlikely Musk will consider a presidential run, regardless of how much interest there is among online searchers. He's busy already running Tesla, Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX), and now, it looks like Twitter. And hopefully we've learned a lesson over the past several years – celebrities don't always make the best presidents, at least not on social media. It's a challenge that's not for the faint-hearted.
Another area getting some traction is that of privacy concerns. What are the ramifications of Elon Musk suddenly having access to the same level of data as Google, Facebook and Amazon.
Congressman Ro Khanna suggested it may be time to look at passing a federal bill to protect the data of people who go online. “We need safeguards in place that give users more control over their data and ensure fairness and transparency,” Khanna said in a statement. Previous online privacy protections have been passed by the European Union and the state of California, with other states considering similar actions.
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This post was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.
Featured Image Credit: Pixabay.
Paul Rose Jr has worked as TV News Producer, Forensic Analyst, and Train Conductor, among many other things. He’s the former TV Editor for Infuzemag.com and owns more books, DVDs, and comics than most people have seen in their lifetimes. When he’s not writing articles, he exercises his creative muscle writing screenplays and acting in film and television in Los Angeles, CA.