Jeff Bezos Wonders If China Just Gained Influence Over Twitter
19:58 GMT 26.04.2022 (Updated: 13:01 GMT 14.04.2023)
© AP Photo / Charles KrupaAmazon founder Jeff Bezos during the JFK Space Summit at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston, Wednesday, June 19, 2019
© AP Photo / Charles Krupa
Musk reached a $44 billion deal with Twitter to buy the social media platform on Monday. The next day, Bezos retweeted a New York Times reporter who mentioned Tesla’s businesses in China.
Jeff Bezos wonders if fellow billionaire Elon Musk will be "pressured by China" to change Twitter according to their whims.
According to the tweet, China is Tesla’s second largest market and is a major supplier of the EV batteries that power Tesla vehicles. Bezos wondered if that would affect discourse on Twitter at all.
© Photo : Twitter/ @JeffBezosJeff Bezos on Twitter
Jeff Bezos on Twitter
© Photo : Twitter/ @JeffBezos
Roughly half of the cars manufactured by Tesla are made in its Shanghai factory, according to Reuters.
The comment does not appear to be a shot at Musk, who currently occupies the title of the world’s richest man. Bezos followed up the tweet by saying his own answer to the question is “probably not” and the more likely outcome is that it could cause trouble for Tesla in China, rather than censorship of Twitter in the West.
In reply, Twitter user and author Helen Raleigh pointed to a Reuters article that alleged Amazon, which is owned by Bezos, previously worked with the Chinese government.
Reuters claimed that Amazon removed comments and reviews for a book collecting the speeches and writings of Chinese President Xi Jinping on the Chinese version of the e-commerce site and also provided a selling portal for “China Books” on the US version of Amazon.
Later Tuesday, China’s foreign ministry said there is no basis to the fear that the country may try to utilize Tesla to gain influence over Twitter.
Musk has called himself a free-speech absolutist. He has promised to bring more freedom of discussion to Twitter and transparency about which tweets are promoted or demoted by open-sourcing the algorithm.
The purchase, which still has to be approved by Twitter shareholders, has been controversial. Some worry that Musk’s free speech stance will cause an increase in hate speech and disinformation while others doubt that Musk will be willing or able to fulfill his promises.