Musk Unmasked Word on the Week 2nd December 2023.
Elon Musk planned to turn Twitter into the marketplace of ideas, a bastion of free speech but something has gone sadly wrong. It was always going to be a high wire act having public space in private hands but then Elon Musk could be the man to control the media platform.
He lays claim to be the wealthiest man in the world with his worth over $200 billion and this after paying 44 billion for Twitter in 2022.
He made most of his money making electric cars in gigantic factories. His Tesla car is a market leader. He has an attraction to space travel and has built a number of rockets. One of his goals is to colonise Mars!
This week his management of Twitter, now known as X, has come under attack. It stems from his absence of auditing the platform content which has attracted dubious contributions largely from the far right. Fake news goes undetected and his own recent entry appears to be anti-Semitic.
The Mayor of Paris has publicly stated her disapproval by describing it as a sewer and cancelling her X account. The downward spiral of the company, in the 13 months he has owned it, stems from Musk firing around 50% of its staff to arrest the loss making situation it was in. A number of big brands who advertised on X have pulled out in recent days, incurring Musk’s ire.
Without the goodwill of advertisers, survival will depend on funding from Musk’s other companies, some of whom assisted in meeting the purchase price. It is a long way from becoming like the Areopagus in Athens. When St Paul visited it he had been heard preaching in the city and was invited to state his case there before the Athenians and foreigners gathered there (Acts 17 verses 16 to 34).
There had been a sounding out of the Apostles ideas. The Areopagus was not for anyone, a lesson Musk is learning the hard way. The Athenians enjoyed free speech which Musk is trying to create but even speech requires to be edited and kept within ethical boundaries.
What did the Apostle say in Athens? We are told he preached Jesus and the resurrection. He emphasised both to the extent that the listeners thought there were two gods! (verse 18). Their decision to hear more from Paul was a good one and their public square, the Areopagus, could be replicated today by a suitably cleaned up X!
Perhaps Elon Musk, who has access to all this world can give, could benefit from the repentance the Apostle preached and look for the cleansing from sin that Jesus offers (St Matthew 19 verses 23 to 26).