Jeff Bezos suggests Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover could give China leverage

Jeff Bezos holds the aviator goggles that belonged to Amelia Earhart as he speaks during a news conference about his flight into space with Blue Origins New Shepard July 20, 2021 in Van Horn, Texas.

Joe Raedle | Getty Images

Billionaire Amazon co-founder Jeff Bezos has weighed in on Elon Musk’s deal to buy Twitter for $44 billion.

Bezos shared a tweet late Monday suggesting that China could gain influence on Twitter once the acquisition is complete.

“Has the Chinese government just gained a little clout on the town square?” Bezos wrote, hinting at Musk’s business ties with China. Tesla’s CEO established a factory in Shanghai in 2018, and the company relies heavily on Chinese firms to supply the materials for its batteries.

Twitter’s board of directors approved Monday for Musk to acquire the company. Twitter is being taken private for $54.20 per share, valuing the company at around $44 billion.

Twitter is banned in China. Beijing’s so-called “Great Firewall” bans access to a number of Western social media sites, including Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

“My own answer to that question is probably not,” Bezos added. “The more likely outcome in this regard is complexity in China for Tesla, rather than censorship on Twitter.”

“But we will see. Musk is extremely good at handling that kind of complexity,” he added.

Despite the caveat, Bezos’ comments are the latest in a long-running feud between the two billionaires.

The two have frequently clashed over their respective space ambitions over the years. Musk is CEO of SpaceX, while Bezos runs his own space company, Blue Origin.

While Musk has promised to enhance Twitter’s role as a “digital marketplace” where users can speak and debate freely, the acquisition has sparked concerns among some politicians and activists who fear it is too much for the world’s richest man control over the online discourse.

However, billionaires owning media companies are not a new phenomenon. Bezos himself owns the Washington Post, while Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff bought Time magazine in 2018. But Twitter is unique in that it’s a platform where millions of people interact and share content — and as such, it’s under the scrutiny of regulators. Jeff Bezos suggests Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover could give China leverage

Jane Marczewski

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