Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter could spell disaster for the social media platform as there is a threat that China could take advantage of Tesla’s footprint to force it to censor online content, according to an expert.
Scott Sheridan, CEO of online brokerage platform TastyWorks, told The Post that Musk’s $44 billion Twitter acquisition doesn’t bode well for the social media company as well as his other prized businesses — Tesla and SpaceX.
“I’m finding it hard to believe that Elon’s purchase of Twitter could possibly end well,” Sheridan told The Post.
Musk, the world’s richest man whose personal wealth – valued at $241 billion by Forbes – comes primarily from his stake in Tesla, has deep business ties with China.
Tesla’s largest factory is in Shanghai, the financial center of China. It is the only China-based factory wholly owned and operated by a non-Chinese entity.
In order for US-based companies to do business in China, the government in Beijing is generally required to form “joint ventures” with domestic firms. Tesla was exempted from this condition.
Tesla’s access to China – the world’s largest electric vehicle market – has paid huge dividends. Last year, Tesla sold $13.8 billion worth of electric cars to Chinese consumers — accounting for a quarter of the company’s worldwide revenue.
In 2021, Tesla sold more than 470,000 electric cars, which were manufactured at its Shanghai Gigafactory. This is more than half the number of vehicles sold by Tesla worldwide.
Tesla’s growing reliance on China could leverage a Communist Party-run government on Musk following a Twitter takeover.
Musk has vowed to take Twitter private and liberalize its content moderation policies to allow for more free speech.
But Sheridan predicted that China could squeeze in an effort to force Musk to frame Twitter’s censorship policies so that they align with Beijing’s political interests.
“China embraces free speech as well” [Chicago] Bear fans hug [Green Bay Packers quarterback] Aaron Rogers at his dinner table,” Sheridan said.
He predicted to The Post that if Musk plays ball with China, it could jeopardize SpaceX’s contract with NASA.
“If Elon’s history on Twitter isn’t a cause for concern and you think he’ll actually take it seriously, you still can’t face potential conflicts regarding China and even the US government.” are,” he said. ,
Sheridan continued, “You don’t have to try too hard to imagine a scenario where China pressures Elon to censor criticism.”
“And any potential special treatment with respect to China could potentially cost SpaceX existing and/or future US government contracts.”
After Musk’s $44 billion bid for Twitter was approved by the company’s board of directors last month, billionaire rival Jeff Bezos wondered whether the deal would empower China.
“Interesting question. Did the Chinese government take advantage of the town square just a little bit? Bezos asked,
He shared a tweet from a New York Times reporter describing how China was the second largest market for Tesla, Musk’s leading electric car company that also opened its first overseas factory in Shanghai.
Twitter has been blocked in China, giving it no advantage over the site – a conspiracy shared by Bezos may have changed under Musk.
Soon after receiving thousands of reshares for his tweet, Bezos admitted that he didn’t really believe it.