OPINION: Twitter is about to become the great hope for the preservation of democracy under the intrepid leadership of Elon Musk. And we’re all excited for that right? Like, as excited as we are for Donald Trump’s account to be imminently unblocked. Yay!

However, part of that wondrous vision for enhancing free speech will actually have to make some money for the grand benevolent master of the EV. After all, he is about to pay $44 billion on the pet project, and the bill might come through the letterbox at some point.

So, if you’re a news organisation that wants to spread some of those big ideas posted on the ‘big Twitter town square arena hall’ (or whatever he likes to call it) it’s only right you pay a fair share for spreading information already in the public realm.

That would ensure Elon gets something in return from a purchase that was as well thought out as a vindaloo before a transatlantic flight.

When you think about it, it’s just the price news organisations, reporters and bloggers should pay for doing their part in saving humanity from whatever threat Musk perceives that Twitter, under his leadership, can solve. Whether that’s here on Earth or, on the Martian service where we’re totally going to be living before 2030.

You simply can’t expect something posted on a public forum to be available for free, in its native form, without paying the bloke who didn’t author it, right?

A Reuters report on Friday outlined some potential ideas Musk may or may not have raised at a meeting with bankers. After all, they definitely have a vested interest in how Twitter is going to actually make money, now it’s privately owned; something Musk doesn’t really have a grasp on yet. As he said in that TED interview a few weeks back:  “I’m like, literally, on the toilet like, ‘oh, this is funny,’ and then tweet that out, you know?”

“Musk told the banks he also plans to develop features to grow business revenue, including new ways to make money out of tweets that contain important information or go viral, the sources said.”

“Ideas he brought up included charging a fee when a third-party website wants to quote or embed a tweet from verified individuals or organisations.”


That’s a far cry from Musk’s sentiment upon securing a $44 billion deal to grab the publicly owned company and take it private, because having one dude in charge of everything instead of having to listen to millions of stakeholders is totally how democracy works.

“Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated,” he said little more than a week ago.

So, reportedly, if you want access to that town square where the future of humanity is debated, you may have to actually be on Twitter. Otherwise, that free speech may be restricted unless someone pays Elon Musk money to unlock and embed it.

According to the report, that great idea, posted by someone else, is now Elon Musk’s property to sell. Perhaps the idea, if it really happened as reported, is for the originator to get a cut too? Who knows? Probably not the owner of the company yet.

Here’s a tweet to bear in mind, which we still can embed for now without Musk charging us for the privilege.

Elsewhere, reports have also suggested Musk wants to cut jobs and just get influencers to spread the gospel. Going well so far this, isn’t it?

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