Very clever who can predict what the richest man in the world of Twitter, which he has finally acquired, will do. “Elon Musk does not know what he is doing,” said Bruce Daisley, one of the former leaders of the social network, recently. Incredulous in the face of the politico-entrepreneurial ambitions of the boss of Tesla, the world observes the whimsical billionaire advocating increased freedom of expression, criticizing the banning of accounts, evoking the monetization of certain certifications and restructuring the company with a vengeance.
Twitter: should Africa be wary of Elon Musk?
While some hundreds thousands of grumpy Internet users are calling for a boycott of the new Twitter and are falling back on the Mastodon platform, which describes itself as “not for sale”, Africans are watching the storm, often less connected to the blue bird than to the obsolete Facebook and its WhatsApp cousin. Of course, before being Canadian and American, Elon Musk is a South African… with nevertheless clearly transnational ambitions, since his hobbyhorses are simultaneously the promotion of the electric automobile, the exploration of space and the sovereignty of an under attack Ukraine.
Twitter’s response to Facebook
It remains to be seen who on the African continent will benefit from the cult of unbridled freedom of expression. Jack Dorsey’s Twitter often presented itself as the ally of activists, not hesitating to engage politically against the Ugandan, Tanzanian or Nigerian regimes. After the deletion of one of his tweets by the network, President Buhari had suspended, in his country, a Twitter deemed too close to the Nigerian social movement #EndSARS…
Accused by some of “neo-colonialist” interference, the old Twitter also had ambitions more economical in Africa, such as the Square Crypto initiative which wanted to strengthen the bitcoin ecosystem on the continent. Radical in the restructuring of his “toy”, Elon Musk has not suspended the opening of Twitter’s first headquarters in Africa.
Elon Musk: richer than Croesus, and than South Africa!
Announced in April 2021 – long before the billionaire took over – but inaugurated on November 1, “Twitter Africa” officially started, in Accra, its coordination activities for all platforms for Africa. A response from the shepherd Twitter to the shepherd Facebook Inc, based in Johannesburg since 2015. The pre-Musk bluebird had presented the choice of Ghana as in line with “online freedom and the open Internet, of which Twitter is also partisan. A few months ago, Elon Musk announced his intention to launch his Starlink satellite broadband internet service in Africa…
So when it comes to freedom and Afrophilia, theoretically at least, old and new Twitter don’t seem so different. Which, in fact, will turn out to be the most in tune with the general interest of the continent ?