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(Video: Fox News)
Forbes Magazine editor-in-chief, author and former politician Steve Forbes is predicting that space and tech tycoon Elon Musk will have a long-term effect on the operations of Twitter now that he’s purchased $2.9 billion in shares of the social media platform and summarily joined its board of directors.
“Being an entrepreneur and knowing it can take years to make things work, [Musk] has got the patience and persistence knowing he can’t do this overnight,” Forbes said.
“But he is going to be there for the long haul. Watch out!” Forbes told Steve Doocy on Fox News’ “Fox and Friends” Wednesday.
Forbes told the host that although Musk had expressed musings about starting his own social media platform where free speech is paramount, it makes more sense for the billionaire to go after an existing one, especially one he has frequently criticized. A recent poll administered by Musk asked Twitter users if they believed the platform behaved in a way that held free speech as a tenet of a free society. Seventy percent of the respondents voted NO.
Free speech is essential to a functioning democracy.
Do you believe Twitter rigorously adheres to this principle?
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 25, 2022
Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal made the announcement of Musk’s appointment to the board on Twitter – appropriately – though some questioned the sincerity of the well-known leftist’s excitement over the prospect.
“I’m excited to share that we’re appointing @elonmusk to our board!” the CEO typed.
— Larry Cermak (@lawmaster) April 5, 2022
Musk indicated that he too was excited and looking forward to making “significant improvements” at the company.
Looking forward to working with Parag & Twitter board to make significant improvements to Twitter in coming months!
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 5, 2022
Forbes explained that Musk is highly intelligent, an astute businessman, and has the tenacity and patience to resist any dismissive attitudes from the other board members. He added Musk will be persistent and ask the tough questions needed, such as, “What are your algorithms? What gets promoted? What gets banned? and Why?” Forbes listed.
“They [Twitter] are not going to change easily, and Musk knows that. He knows how to persist. He knows how to ask the questions. He knows how to put pressure on,” Forbes said. “So, the idea of ‘oh, we will resist him and he will go away in 30 days,’ Uh-uh. He knows how to fight.”
Forbes said he believes one of the most important questions that Musk will raise, or at least should raise, is “Who on the outside, politically, tries to influence content and who gets to go on the Twitter-sphere?”
He went on to say that Twitter will likely dig in against Musk and his positions on free speech and censorship, but that Musk will stand fast and wear them down.
“[Musk] knows he can’t do it overnight,” Forbes said. “He knows by persistently asking the right questions: ‘Why did you do this?’ ‘Why did you do that?’ Suddenly, when you have to answer questions, it’s very hard to be quite as arbitrary as you were before.”
He intimated that perhaps even former President Trump might be reinstated on the platform. But Musk will almost certainly receive the same kind of vitriol. Any suggestion that free speech is the most important right Americans have is quickly followed by accusations of racism, or sexism, or the erroneous characterization that speech one disagrees with somehow equates to violence.
Where Trump was banned for tweets that more often than not were rooted in the truth, it may be more difficult for Twitter to ban one of their own board members in Musk.
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