Posted in: Tattle, Technology

Elon, Twitter is not the town square – it’s just a private shop. The square belongs to us all | John Naughton

Musk’s acquisition of the media platform will be a boon for free speech, he says. Governments are the ones to judge that

On Friday 8 January 2021, Twitter kicked Donald Trump off its platform and an eerie calm enveloped parts of our global public sphere. Depriving him of his online megaphone was a compelling demonstration of how a tech platform had acquired an awesome power – the ability effectively to silence an elected president.

But what kind of power is it really? Many years ago, in a landmark book, Power: A Radical View, the sociologist Steven Lukes wrote that power comes in three varieties: the ability to stop people doing what they want to do; the ability to compel them to do what they don’t want to do; and the ability to shape the way they think.

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