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.