New Delhi: Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, has proposed to acquire Twitter for $43 billion, claiming that he wants to tap into the company’s enormous potential. According to Musk, Twitter has the potential to be a global platform for free speech.
Musk’s revelation earlier this week sparked a rush of comments. Former Reddit Chief Executive Officer Yishan Wong was among those who reacted to the news, taking to Twitter to explain how protecting free expression differs in today’s environment from the “old-internet days” of the late 1990s.
In his Twitter thread, Wong wrote, “There was an old internet culture, roughly Web 1.0 (late 1990s) and early Web 2.0, pre-Facebook (pre-2005), that had a really strong free speech culture.”
Wong claimed that “free expression” meant “freedom from religious conservatives seeking to shut down porn” in the “old internet” days.
“It’s not that the theory isn’t legitimate (it is), it’s just that the practical challenges surrounding upholding that principle have changed as the world has evolved,” Wong explained.
For older industry titans like Elon Musk, the internet offered a new frontier, according to the former Reddit CEO.
“The internet is not a “border” where individuals can go “to be free,” he said, “it’s where the entire globe is now, and every culture war is being fought on it.” “It’s the most important battleground in our culture wars.”
“Every side is seeking to take away the other side’s speech rights,” Wong argues.
He went on to say that people of all ideological shades believe social media is biassed against them.
“All of my left-wing woke pals believe that social media sites support white racist misogynistic patriarchy,” Wong stated. “All of my alt/center-right/libertarian pals are certain that social media platforms promote the woke BLM/Marxist/LGBTQ agenda.”
Musk and other Generation X (those born between 1965 and 1980) tech pioneers, according to Wong, were “vaguely left-wing but also center-right.”
“(They’re) witnessing their version of “censorship” — and drawing all the wrong assumptions about what’s going on with social platform management,” Wong wrote.
Musk, according to Wong, does not grasp what happened to culture after 2004.
“I know he doesn’t,” Wong added, “since he was late to Bitcoin and would’ve been on Bitcoin a lot sooner if he’d been tuned in to internet culture.”
Wong issued a warning to Musk if he decides to make Twitter private: “He is in for a world of pain. He is completely unaware.”