Elon Musk plans to launch his personal social community to defend freedom of expression

Elon Musk’s hyperactivity struck again. In a post on Twitter for which he has a secret, the head of Tesla and SpaceX mentioned the possibility of launching his own social network to defend freedom of expression.

Freedom of expression is essential for the proper functioning of democracy. Do you think Twitter rigorously respects this principle? the billionaire asked in a tweet, with a poll in which there are more than two million of his followerswhich more than 70% answered in the negative.

After one internet user offered him to create his own platform, with an algorithm open source and the priority given to respect for freedom of expression, Musk replied that he “ I’m seriously thinking about it “.

Elon Musk, destroyer of censorship?

To further blur the line between joke and reality, he also supported the idea that another netizen suggests that dogecoin could be part of the way this new platform works. This cryptocurrency with a dog as an emblem, created out of a joke, has become very modern despite the doubts of financial circles. Elon Musk had fun several times by supporting her on social media. In May 2021, he made a dogecoin jump with a sibyl tweet: “ how much is Doge worth in the window? A reference to a popular song about a dog (“pas” in English).

Nor is it the first time that an entrepreneur, who in 2011 confided in himself that “ quite libertarian “do New Yorker, takes a public stand against censorship, especially that enforced by Twitter. In 2021, after the expulsion of Donald Trump from the social network after the attack on the Capitol by his supporters, the billionaire questioned legitimacy. ” west coast technology elite (i.e. Silicon Valley) to be the arbiter of truth. In early March, he announced (still on Twitter) that his constellation Starlink had been pressured to block certain Russian sources of information, and would refuse to do so unless forced to do so in the name of freedom of expression.

In February, he filed a lawsuit in court accusing the American authorities of taking him to a political trial because he criticized the government and thus violated the First Amendment, the guarantor of freedom of expression in the United States. The complaint came after several investigations launched by the SEC, a U.S. stock exchange police officer, accusing Elon Musk of manipulating Tesla stock prices through his tweets, of which he is the founder. Last November, for example, Tesla shares fell 5% after its boss offered his followers to sell 10% of his shares to pay more taxes.

Already saturated market

If Elon Musk really intends to realize his project and find time to dedicate himself to it between Tesla, SpaceX, Neuralink and The Boring Company, the task ahead awaits him. Many alternative social networks have been launched in the United States, mostly motivated by excessive censorship by Twitter and Facebook. This is especially the case with Gab, an Austin-based service, Parler, Gettr (launched by Jason Miller, a former Donald Trump spokesman) or Truth Social, a platform launched personally by the former president last month.

But most are struggling to take off. Gab, for example, has about 4 million users, including 100,000 active users, far from the 200 million daily active Twitter users known as monetizers.

There are several reasons for explaining these difficulties. In order to take off, such platforms need a network effect, ie users will be tempted to register and participate only if a significant number of their relatives do so. However, platforms like Facebook and Twitter, despite the limited and occasional leaks of users in times of scandal, take up all the space, leaving little room for the development of alternative services.

Consequently, these platforms, which for the most part defend freedom of expression, seek to attract marginalized or extremist users who are banned from accessing Twitter or Facebook because of their behavior or ideas. A reality that frightens many users and complicates the ability of its platforms to attract investors.

Finally, they also tend to bring together politically homogeneous individuals (Gab, for example, is very popular among U.S. Republicans). However, one of the attractions of platforms like Twitter is that they are exposed to different points of view. Without the lure of verbal sparring and other quarrels with opposing ideologies, many of these platforms prove to be a bit boring compared to heavy media heavyweights.