Imminent Lawless Action is the most accepted doctrine defining free speech from a legal standpoint in the United States. Total free speech is the justification for the recently announced Elon Musk-acquisition of Twitter. A blatant contradiction arises when a platform used for individuals to express their beliefs and opinions is converted into a private corporation. The acquisition will have widespread consequences beyond those reflected by stock market fluctuations.
The first is the consolidation of power. Through taking Twitter private, Elon Musk has amassed enormous power for himself within the media community, directly tasked with reorganizing and managing the platform in the way he sees fit. The broader issue lies in his far-reaching breach of power centralization. Heading Tesla, Elon Musk has already garnered a sizable and established a foothold in the transportation industry. By founding SpaceX, Elon Musk gained himself outsized influence for the foreseeable future in space. Finally, through his other auxiliary companies in less-developed industries, such as Neuralink and the Boring Company, Elon Musk has drastic potential for massive horizontal integration. An acquisition of Twitter will undoubtedly cast the charismatic billionaire as the most powerful non-political private entity on the globe.
The second is market balance. In a new, yet relatively developed field, the social media landscape is not a very competitive business. In such industries, public shareholder sentiment is the only factor keeping the company performing at its very best. However, through the privatization of Twitter, Musk has effectively stamped out any market pressure for Twitter to act optimally on its owners’ behalf, rendering any quick and effective change extremely difficult to continue. The privatization of a previously public company is not uncommon but rather risky, especially for one wielding such outsized influence. The acquisition will undoubtedly cause change for the company, likely for the worse.
Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter is undeniably a catalyst for a massive shakeup in the technology industry as a whole. Consolidation both within Twitter shares and throughout the technology spectrum as a whole will soon neglect the very roots of the mobile and decentralized industry. Were Twitter to blossom even further than it has now, drastic consequences will await all parties involved.