Elon Musk announces that the first big change to Twitter should concern the certification process. He wants to integrate the blue badge into a paid formula, also increasing tenfold the visibility of the accounts concerned. This announcement reminds us that Elon Musk is not just a people or an entrepreneur: he carries a political ideology.
It’s hard to miss Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter. The saga began in early 2022, then was rich in twists and turns until, finally, the entrepreneur arrived with a sink in the premises of the social network and dismissed a good part of its leaders. It’s official: Elon Musk owns Twitter.
This takeover is not just economic news, nor a modification of the digital ecosystem: it is political in nature. The first public decision announced by Elon Musk demonstrates this: the certification “blue check” would become chargeable, integrated into the Twitter Blue formula, with numerous tools to increase visibility. It would be a real metamorphosis of this network.
Officially, this is a source of remuneration for the platform – which the entrepreneur bought for an amount far too high. But one of his last tweets reminds us that this choice is not neutral: “ Power to the people ! Blue for $8/month “, he writes. Democracy… for a fee?
Elon Musk’s freedom is for those who can afford it
Elon Musk is often presented in the media as a glamorous, fascinating, even heroic character. sometimes described as a people for his escapades, sometimes as a genius entrepreneur for his successful companies (SpaceX, Tesla…), the man has almost become a living myth. There is, however, an economic and political reality behind the glitter: Elon Musk carries within him an ideology – that of transhumanism. Willingness to “improve” the body, fear of AIs and belief in a technological Singularity where these AIs would surpass us, quest to kill death: transhumanists have set up residence in Silicon Valley (literally speaking, with Singularity University).
This movement is sometimes perceived, wrongly, as a simple scientific and technological approach. Rather, it is an ideology resting on technoscience — a system of ideas that use these tools to accomplish a worldview. There are several transhumanisms, because different ideologies are associated with it. Elon Musk’s Californian transhumanism is largely based on the political philosophy of libertarianism.
The ideal, in this approach, is a total free market, without any hindrance (even state). In the United States, libertarianism is predominantly capitalist—individual accumulation and property rights as definitions of real freedom. This transhumanism is therefore that of an individualist, capitalist freedom, of increasing one’s bodily and social condition, in a competitive free market. For Elon Musk and the other ideologues of the movement, technosciences are a means of accomplishing this perception of the world.
His tweet claiming that the “ power to the people is acquired financially is therefore not a provocation, nor a joke, nor a miscommunication: it is quite simply his political ideal.
It would be wrong to believe that the old Twitter did not already infuse a political system. But it is crucial to keep in mind that, in the case of Elon Musk, the very strong media coverage of the takeover by this mythical character can easily blur the meaning of his choices. The same goes for the socio-political impact they have: in this case, influence on one of the largest social networks in the world will become marketable – reserved for those who have the means to pay and a need to ‘to influence.
Given the place of Twitter today in the public debate, in the event of elections in particular, this direction can have an impact well beyond the digital space: our perception of reality sold to the highest bidder?
Build the future of Numerama with us by answering these questions!