Elon Musk and America’s free speech debate

Elon Musk owns Twitter. Just think about that for a second.

What the actual [redacted]. 

Elon Musk is not fit to run Twitter, Mark Zuckerberg is not fit to run Facebook and random Joe #1 is not fit to run TikTok. 

You sense a common theme.

A single person (or their board of yes-men) is not fit to run some of the most powerful corporations in the world.

World leaders have been axed from some of the most influential sites in the world. Whether we like it or not, free speech is under attack. It does not matter your opinion on former President Donald Trump or really any other world leader who is controversial in politics. 

There are no circumstances where a President/Prime Minister/Dictator should be banned from Twitter.

However, this is in no way to say a world leader should be immune from punishment for speaking their opinions online, as we have seen violence, death and chaos as a result of certain figures, but we as a society must ask ourselves: should a private company have this much power over world leaders, and ourselves?  The short answer is no, but the long one takes a legitimate solution. This solution, however, is simple. Take power out of the hands of the ruling class (billionaires) and transfer it to the common American, letting true democracy take root. Let the American people decide who is being destructive and who is merely speaking their mind, akin to the First Amendment.

Let’s face it: social media dominates the world we live in. From the mammoth, established tech giants like Facebook and Snapchat to the upstart TikTok, nearly every young person in America is exposed to some degree of social media by the time they hit their teen years. Certainly, if there is one thing we have learned about ourselves as humans during the social media age of the last 15 years, if there is an opinion, someone will voice it anywhere possible.

Peter Parker (and a few wise people probably) once said, “With great power, comes great responsibility.” As for the people running some of the biggest technology companies in the world, the same sentiment holds true.

With the great power invested in them by users and the great money paid to them by advertisers, of course, Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey  Elon Musk can be trusted with such great responsibility, right? Well, not exactly.

Unfortunately for the greater American public, as with any company raking in billions of dollars, these mega-billionaires lead the charge in fumbling the business of regular American consumers.

With political tensions at an all-time high, between the Russo-Ukrainian War, gas prices and day-to-day headaches of American politics, social media has become a melting pot of political opinion and debate. As a result, misinformation and censorship have flooded the site along with the necessary discourse about said politics. This censorship, no matter how much your drunk uncle tells you, is from the “communist Democrats,” is from the benefiters of free-market capitalism. 

With American culture being so focused on the private sector and the “American Dream” of business owning, it is a fair time to wonder: have we focused too hard on businesses and not workers and consumers? It is commonly said that money is power, and therefore the social media monstrosities that control what we see, how we see and when we see, have all the power in the world. Is it right that world leaders can be simply deleted from every notable social media via a vote from the board of a private company? 

I mean, what is stopping Elon Musk from booting anyone he wants off of Twitter. He has stated in his own Tweet that he plans to allow his trolls to stay on Twitter, but really why would/should he? Musk is reckless, Musk is weird, Musk is likely a narcissist. He has personally canceled Tesla orders after customers were “rude” to him. He has routinely lashed out and taunted numerous public figures, knowingly sending armies of fans to their social media accounts. 

In short: he is a fraud of a self-made billionaire who has the temper of a small child and definitely does not deserve exemption from First Amendment enforcement. 

But this problem is not only Musk, it is about the private sector and social media in general.  I digress.

Now, getting this power for the working class is not simple, but it is achievable. For now, call out injustice where you see it, challenge corporational ideas and seek power for the regular citizen. 

This article is not to say social media is bad. Any way of connecting humans in a faster, more efficient way is almost always positive. This article is meant to challenge ideas that companies with no input from its workers (for the most part) or its consumers can censor world leaders or the regular user. 

The ball is in your court, America. You have the power to continue the fight against these harmful ideas or to submit to them and risk being censored yourself. I think you know what to do. 

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