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Elon Musk’s Nayak moment and Twitter’s free spech

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Bimal Prasad Mohapatra
Bimal Prasad Mohapatrahttp://www.trident.ac.in
Columnist is a Senior Research Fellow in Defense Research and Studies (DRaS), Faculty of Management Studies in Trident Group of Institutions, Bhubaneswar, and author of novel "Travails of LOVE" and "Bimal's ANAND MATH". He writes column on Geopolitics, Indian Politics and Media for MyVoice.OpIndia, DRaS, The Kootneeti, The Diplomatists, The Avenue Mail, Delhi Post, Orissa Post, Outlook Afghanista, The Manila Times, etc. And also Moderated Panel Discussion on Geopolitics, Politics and Media

The very sight of four words “The bird is freed”, which Elon Musk posted in Twitter in the wake of his takeover of the ownership of the micro blogging social media platform and conversion of the same from public to private property ‘in vengeance’, made this author, a keen watcher of Fourth Pillar of Democracy, have a hearty laugh.

The hostile takeover was in fact a very dramatic one as the Forbes’s wealthiest topper carried in his own hands a heavy ceramic bathroom sink to bird’s nest and on his very arrival ordered chopping of bird’s wings, who were so far had been very instrumental for the bird’s flying around the world invading almost all countries, and allegedly ordered chopped wings’ escorted out from the nest in a manner unseen and unheard up in media/corporate history in the world; looked like he had enacted a replay of yesteryear Bollywood blockbuster ‘Nayak: The Real Hero’.

But, like Nayak, Elon Musk is not one day Chief of Twitter. Soon after his took over, he wasted no time to change his Twitter profile to “Chief Twit”; whereas after four days of alleged escorted out from bird’s headquarter, Ajmer-born Parag Agrawal intriguingly continued to retain his Twitter profile “ceo @twitter”, means there were two CEOs for four days, though news was in circulation that he was joining Meta in first week of 2023 after break of two months during which he would be visiting India where bird’s founder CEO Jack Dorsey and its legal cell head Hyderabad-born Vijaya Gadde –latter one is the first four top executives sacked by Elon Musk on the very first day of takeover- during their 2018 liberal and free speech pilgrimage to world’s largest democracy to promote “smash brahminical patriarchy”.

Along with the tweet of “The bird is freed”, the muscular looked Elon Musk posted a video with caption “Entering Twitter HQ – let that sink in!” Later, in a note, he said the acquisition is to ‘help humanity’ and not let Twitter become a ‘free-for-all, hellscape’.

In his note to Twitter advertisers, he further clarified, “The reason I acquired Twitter is because it is important to the future of civilization to have a common digital town square where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner. The platform must be warm and welcoming to all.”

Elon Musk, a businessman/industrialist, is now a sole owner of this powerful social media platform where almost all top world political leaders, opinion leaders, powerful offices and institutions have their accounts. Here, nobody should forget that through this platform many significant national and international communications are made, means in the meanwhile the platform has been an inalienable part and parcel of human affairs throughout the length and breadth of the world within a short span of 16 years of its birth.

Along with the above, there are instances of this powerful platform has been misused by vested interests including influential public figures to create religious, ethnic, class, …. conflicts as we in India had seen on our pious 52nd Republic Day in the country’s national capital and in US Capitol Hill in 2021, a few days before the transition of power as per popular mandate in the just concluded country’s presidential election, among others.

Both India and America are the largest and oldest democracies respectively, and are virtually leading the democratic movements in the world. And many countries look at these two for democratic inspiration and leadership.

Apart from the above, the most unfortunate and alarming is the platform’s misuse by its new owner Elon Musk himself. He, within three days of announcing “The bird is freed”, posted a tweet promoting the baseless allegation that Paul Pelosi aged 82, the husband of the US Speaker of the House of Representatives, a Democratic Party member, who was assaulted on Friday at the couple’s home, ‘had been drunk and in a fight with a male prostitute’.

Later, Musk deleted the same in response to a tweet posted next day by Hillary Clinton, the former Secretary of State, attacking Republican Party for spreading ‘hate and deranged conspiracy theories’ that she said had emboldened the man who attacked Nancy Pelosi’s husband.

Over this development, former US Secretary of Labour and at present Professor of Public Policy in University of California Robert Reich wrote in The Guardian “If Musk’s tweet doesn’t raise bright red warning signs all over the world about his judgment and character, just days after he took over one of the planet’s largest and most influential media machines, I don’t know what will” in his column titled “Elon Musk’s Paul Pelosi tweet proves he has no business running Twitter”.

This is not the only occasion Elon Musk had exhibited his contemptuous behavior using Twitter platform. In 2018, he posted a tweet claiming he had secured funding to take his business establishment Tesla private at $420 per share without specific back up to the claim. The issue sparked an investigation by the US Security and Exchange Commission which fined him $40 million. He allegedly was critical of ban of Donald Trump in Twitter platform after Capitol Hill riot.

Was Elon Musk forced to take over Twitter to save him from legal tangle he himself had spun? This is one the most exciting question in the whole affairs. After initially agreeing to buy his alleged ‘caged bird’ in April 2022, he spent months desperately attempting to get out of the deal alleging that the company failed to adequately disclose the number of spam and fake accounts on the service.

In July, when he officially announced to back out of the deal, Twitter sued the richest maverick alleging he ‘refuses to honour his obligations to Twitter and its stockholders because the deal he signed no longer serves his personal interests.’

The gist of the whole episode is neither Elon Musk nor the platform founder including Jack Dorsey has bought and founded the platform respectively to promote liberal democratic ethos through free speech. They are professional agenda driven hypocrats and opportunists.

Here, one should not forget that the entire drama started soon after founder CEO Jack Dorsey handed over the management to Parag Agrawal to bear the hidden agenda of unsavory transfer of the ownership of the platform for monetary benefit to share-holders using an employee from India which is at the receiving end of the dubious Western liberal democratic prophecy.

This is why perhaps Indian filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri posted a picture of Vijaya Gadde with Twitter’s ex-CEO Jack Dorsey, holding a placard saying “smash brahminical patriarchy”, and said, “They wanted to smash Brahminical Patriarchy but got smashed themselves.”

Thus, the slogan “The bird is freed” and Nayakism of Twitter new owner, unjustly designated by many as ‘free speech absolutist’, are the biggest jokes of the century as the bird is not going to be freed in any case. Yes, agree that the cage owner is changed, and the cage may get a new design or coat eventually. And that’s all for the Fourth Pillar of the Democracy.

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Bimal Prasad Mohapatra
Bimal Prasad Mohapatrahttp://www.trident.ac.in
Columnist is a Senior Research Fellow in Defense Research and Studies (DRaS), Faculty of Management Studies in Trident Group of Institutions, Bhubaneswar, and author of novel "Travails of LOVE" and "Bimal's ANAND MATH". He writes column on Geopolitics, Indian Politics and Media for MyVoice.OpIndia, DRaS, The Kootneeti, The Diplomatists, The Avenue Mail, Delhi Post, Orissa Post, Outlook Afghanista, The Manila Times, etc. And also Moderated Panel Discussion on Geopolitics, Politics and Media
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