Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has asked whether China gained “leverage” over Twitter after Tesla CEO Elon Musk bought the platform in a multi-billion dollar deal, though quickly walked back the comment.
Bezos took to social media on Monday to muse about Musk’s purchase of Twitter for $44 billion, insinuating the move might hand Beijing influence over the online “town square.”
“Interesting question. Did the Chinese government just gain a bit of leverage over the town square?” he asked, citing a post by New York Times reporter Mike Forsythe outlining Musk’s business dealings in China.
Bezos soon returned to clarify, however, saying the deal with Musk will “probably not” give China sway over the platform, instead predicting “complexity in China for Tesla, rather than censorship at Twitter.”
“But we’ll see. Musk is extremely good at navigating this kind of complexity,” he added.
The Tesla CEO first pitched his takeover bid for Twitter earlier this month, shortly after buying a 9.2% share of the company on April 4. In announcing the deal on Monday afternoon, Musk dubbed Twitter the “digital town square” and stressed the need to maintain “free speech” on the site, also vowing to make its algorithms open source “to increase trust.”