Amazon chairman Jeff Bezos asked on Twitter if Elon Musk’s $44 billion deal to acquire Twitter provides China “a bit of leverage over the town square.” The social media platform is currently banned there, where Musk has major investments.
Monday saw Elon Musk, who describes himself as a free speech absolutist and has condemned Twitter’s content moderation policy, strike an agreement to buy the company.
Activists believe that Musk’s acquisition of Twitter could indicate vague moderation and the reinstallation of blocked personalities such as former US President Donald Trump.
The deal has raised questions about whether or not it will affect Twitter’s policy in China, with Tesla, Musk’s automaker company, mainly depending on the Asian nation for manufacturing and car sales.
Late on Monday, a tweet from Bezos read: “Did the Chinese government just gain a bit of leverage over the town square?”
“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,” he added.
Musk posted on Twitter Monday that he hopes “that even my worst critics remain on Twitter because that is what free speech means.”
The Chinese government said Tuesday that they have no plans to use leverage over Tesla to gain control of Twitter content.
Tesla has no comment, says a company spokesperson. Twitter also chose not to comment on the issue.
Employees and Twitter management wonder if the deal justly compensates for the company’s value and how it would impact the operations. Some spectators also ask how Musk will run the company considering his already helming two giants – Tesla and SpaceX.